XA Major Helping to Prepare Student for Journalism Career

girl with long brown hair with a black jacket smiling at the camera in front of a sign that says

When Madison O’Connor first came to Michigan State University, she declared herself a Journalism major, and when she took an Experience Architecture (XA) class, she discovered a whole new area to explore.

Now a senior with a double major in Experience Architecture and Journalism, O’Connor’s Experience Architecture major allows her to examine how readers get to the stories she writes. While the field of journalism continues to evolve in the digital age, it has become increasingly important to better understand your audience and what they a looking for.

“If we can understand what readers want and need, we can create a more sustainable way of storytelling,” O’Connor said.  

If we can understand what readers want and need, we can create a more sustainable way of storytelling.


Through her two majors, O’Connor is studying different perspectives in order to become a better journalist. 

“It’s truly interdisciplinary,” she said about her two majors, “and the classes I take range from leadership to research strategies to prototyping to philosophy.” 

While juggling a double major, O’Connor also serves as Editor-In-Chief of The State News and recently took time out of her busy schedule to attend the National Collegiate Media Convention in Washington, D.C., where students from all over the country came together to share their experiences working for college newspapers.

girl with brown hair wearing a gray sweater holding up three awards
Madison O’Connor with the three Best of Show Awards won by
The State News at the National Collegiate Media Convention.

“It was a great opportunity, and we were able to walk away with new ideas and inspiration,” said O’Connor, who began working at The State News as a reporter her freshman year.

“It’s a great feeling, now as a senior, to be able to foster growth in others,” she said. “The State News has taught me to be thankful, to lift others up, and to put my best into everything I do.”

O’Connor also is involved in the College of Communication Arts and Science’s Media Sandbox and MSU’s Student Chapter of the Society for News Design. She has interned for the MLive Media Group at The Grand Rapids PressLansing State Journal, and The Naples Daily News. She plans to take another semester or year at MSU.