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Career Notes- T-Minus Space Daily Podcast Producer Alice Carruth.

Join us for a career notes special edition with T-Minus Space Daily Podcast Producer Alice Carruth ashe shares her journey from broadcasting to space.





Today is September 4th, 2023- Labor Day in the US, so we have a special program for you. Career Notes explores the pathways of some of the most influential leaders in aerospace. Our guest for today is our podcast producer Alice Carruth. Alice has traversed a career in international journalism to space PR and marketing. Here is her story in her own words.

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>> Maria Varmazis: Welcome to T-Minus Career Notes. I'm Maria Varmazis, host of the T-Minus Space Daily podcast. Today is September 4, 2023, and that means it's the Labor Day holiday in the United States. So we're taking the day off here at N2K studios and, in lieu of our regular daily show, we have a special program for you. Now, Career Notes explores the pathways of some of the most influential leaders in aerospace. And our guest for today is none other than our Podcast Producer, Alice Carruth. Alice has traversed a career in international journalism to space PR and marketing. Here's her story in her own words.

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>> Alice Carruth: I grew up really wanting to be in broadcast journalism. I loved the idea of being a camera operator in the field. So I went to university in London to the University of Westminster to study broadcasting and to learn about camera operating, editing, and field work. And over the three years that I was at university, I was able to do a lot of work experience. And one of those took me to NATO, where I was able to be part of a war games media room and got to see what was really going on. And it really got me to say this is what I wanted to do. So graduated before my 21st birthday and walked straight into a job as a producer in live television. Admittedly, it was shopping television, but it gave me a really good opportunity to understand live. Being in a live environment is just the most intense work experience you can ever have. A skill that I use even today, which is marketing and sales, understanding that telling a story is also selling a story. And that was really something that I've been able to use further in my career. And I went from doing shopping television for just a short few months into ITV where I was the brand manager for ITV2. But it wasn't satisfying for me. It wasn't working in news. And, at 24, Al Jazeera English started. And so I moved sight unseen to Doha, Qatar and joined the newsroom.

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Living in the Middle East was just an eye opener, but it was incredible. And I worked with some of the most amazing journalists from around the world. I believe over 80 languages were spoken. And I learned so much from these people that had been on the ground and worked in the field. If you ever meet any journalist anywhere in the world, you'll realize that they very quickly become subject matter experts. You get given something to do and a very short deadline to turn that story around. So you are really good at doing your research, learning about what it is you're writing about, and then coming up with a story to be able to tell it to the world. My husband and I met when I was just 26. And he was a telecommunication specialist for the US government and based over Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar. We married about a year later. And then, 10 months after we got married, I was delivering our first child. And being a mother really changed my perspective on everything. Going back to a newsroom when you're dealing with live television for 12 hours a day, sometimes on air for that full duration as well, just wasn't very good for being a mom. So, after my daughter turned a year old, we decided to leave Qatar.

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We moved to New Mexico 10 years ago, and I stayed at home. So we welcomed our son about a year after moving to the US. And he was born with a condition called craniosynostosis where his skull was prematurely fused and had to undergo skull surgery, which is kind of a scary thing to go through as a parent. But you know when he turned three and we realized that he was totally normal, that his condition hadn't contributed to any issues in his life, I decided that I was ready to get back into work but didn't know where to start because I'd moved to a completely different country. I'd been out of a newsroom for three or four years at that point, and everything had changed. Everything had gone from being live news on the television to social media. And people were consuming their information in such a different manner. So I didn't know what to do with myself. And one day my husband was reading a local newspaper and they said they were starting a community radio station, and they're after somebody with broadcasting experience who understands audio editing. And so I went and volunteered. On my second assignment with them, they sent me to interview someone who was starting a space festival. Now, as I mentioned before, us journalists have this knack of being subject matter experts when given anything to read about. And I started to read about the history of space in New Mexico, and I was very quickly hooked.

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This place is the birthplace of space in the US. It's been a testbed for NASA training. It's where the ground station for NASA is. It's been involved in all sorts of missions that then go on to the ISS and beyond. It was just an eye opener for me. And I started to learn about this company called Virgin Galactic that we're setting up shop in our neighborhood. And they wanted to be able to put on a community space festival that helped people understand why they were here and what they were doing. So I got given this task to go and interview a man who was starting a space festival. And it turned out that man was the Executive Vice President of Virgin Galactic and had just moved to New Mexico to set up shop for Virgin to be the headquarters out of Spaceport America. And he needed someone with a media background to help him with the space festival and asked whether or not I'd be interested after the interview to help him out. So I joined the Las Cruces Space Festival in 2018, and that really was the start of the journey that led me down the path to where I am now.

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Growing up in England, I never learned about space. It was never really taught to you in schools. I had no idea about the industry in the United Kingdom for satellites or the fact that they launched from the United Kingdom in the 1970s. I had no idea about any of that. And it really was moving to New Mexico and doing my research about what this area had to offer. And, honestly, a lot of people in the US don't know about what goes on in New Mexico, what's been going on in New Mexico since the 1930s. And it felt just like a natural fit for having a storyteller that all of a sudden realized that I could help. I could help promote this region. I could help promote space in this region. And I could help tell the story that I think is not being told and that is that the US has been working on this for the longest time, whether it's commercial or government space and that this little state, this tiny state that a lot of Americans forget is even part of the United States has contributed an awful lot to that. So that's really where it kind of came from, where the passion started and how it's got to where it is today. So after about a year working on this community event, I was offered a position that I didn't even apply for working for a startup company that deals with communications in space. I built my first commercial for them explaining exactly what their tech was going to do, not just from a technical point of view but from the point of view of somebody who had no idea of their concept. And, really, that's what technical communication is about. It's about understanding what an engineer is telling you something is doing and learning how to dumb it down so it can reach out to a larger audience. And I learned very quickly that I had a good skill set to be able to do that. So, after a year of working for this payload company, an opportunity came up at Spaceport America to be a PR coordinator; and I applied for it. In the three years that I was there, I've got to see hundreds of rocket launches, everything from the Virgin Galactic Spaceship to every single one of the test launches by SpinLaunch, multiple student launches, both at the Spaceport America Cup and otherwise. And I learned an awful lot about rocketry. I learned how to communicate it to the masses, and I started the Spaceport America STEM Outreach Program which engaged with students in the local area and beyond and then became the chair of the Global Spaceport Alliance Academic Partnership Outreach Group. So I worked with spaceports around the world on their STEM programs, and we shared with each other what worked, what didn't work, how we could engage more with our community because we realized very quickly that the only way that the space industry was going to succeed was by creating a pipeline from K through 5 all the way up through universities and beyond.

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So now I'm the producer of N2K's T-Minus Space Daily podcast. I joined the team on the first day that we launched. And I guess really I try and bring to it an international perspective. Having lived in the Middle East, having worked overseas and growing up in the United Kingdom, I really wanted to show that space is more than just the US and saw that this was an incredible platform to really showcase that. I think space is really starting to recognize it needs better storytellers. And if I can emphasize anything to people that are considering starting their own business or thinking how they can elevate their business, think about how your story is perceived by others; and think about how you're telling it to them. And, really, you need storytellers. That's what marketers, that's what PR people are. That's what business development really is. And I think if you haven't got somebody in there that really thinks about telling your story, then you need to start considering it now. And for students that are thinking about careers in space and thinking about careers as a space communicator, get out there. Go and cover all the events you can. Start your own blogs. Go and talk to people. Honestly, there's a lot of people in the industry that want to help. Maybe you can talk to them about what's coming up. Maybe you can even offer to do some blog work on their channels or whatever it is you're going to do because, honestly, that's how I ended up doing this was volunteering, and volunteering led to my career. So if I can offer anything to anyone, I just say take every opportunity that comes along and go for it.

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>> Maria Varmazis: That's it for T-Minus for September 4, 2023. We'd love to know what you think of our podcast. You can always email us at space@n2k.com or submit the survey in our show notes. Your feedback ensures that we deliver the information that keeps you a step ahead in the rapidly changing space industry. This episode was produced by none other than Alice Carruth, mixing by Elliott Peltzman and Tr Hester. Our executive producer is Brendan Karpf. Our chief intelligence officer is Eric Tillman, and I'm Maria Varmazis. Thanks for listening.

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