When she graduated from Wellesley nearly 11 years ago, Ashley Riegle ’07 never imagined she would be an Emmy award-winning TV producer alongside the team of Good Morning America in 2017. After taking Mandarin at Wellesley, she decided to spend the summer before her senior year abroad in Shanghai. Riegle enjoyed being immersed in Chinese culture, which prompted her to move to Shanghai after graduation.
Riegle then moved to New York City, where she was working in public affairs dealing with media. However, she always had an interest in the news side of media, and New York is where she discovered her passion for journalism and made the decision to pursue it.
“While living in NYC, I went to a screening with some Wellesley friends of the documentary ‘Miss Representation’, about the sexist ways women are portrayed in mainstream media. Watching the film solidified many of the things I’d already been feeling and observing and motivated me to want to get my Master’s in Journalism,” Riegle explained. She started looking for and applying for programs and was accepted to University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg’s School of Journalism shortly after.
Riegle now works as a freelance TV producer and produces mostly for Nightline and Good Morning America, as her work focuses mainly on documentaries and network news. Her favorite aspect of her job is being able to document the lives of people whose stories are often overlooked.
“On the most fundamental level, I get to meet people from all different walks of life and tell their stories … I’ve made it my goal to focus on stories that empower women and minorities, including LGBTQ and tell stories that aren’t always in the national spotlight,” she said.
Although the work is rewarding for her, it also comes with many challenges. Producing news, in particular, is difficult because it is constantly changing.
“Our concept of ‘normal’ is often a state of relative chaos. In the current political climate, things are even more unpredictable and require near-constant monitoring and coverage,” Riegle said.
She says that Wellesley helped make her into the person she is today, and appreciates that Wellesley allowed her to explore her academic interests and form an intense work ethic.
“At Wellesley, I learned to study hard, stay up late, become a strong researcher, express myself without hesitation and also balance academics with fun,” Riegle said.
While at Wellesley, Riegle was a member of Tau Zeta Epsilon (TZE), the art and music society on campus, where she served as the social chair. Her favorite memories include hanging out with her friends after class, studying together, planning events for TZE and going on road trips. She is grateful to have friendships that have lasted 11 years after she graduated.
Riegle has plenty of advice for current students that she wishes she knew during her time here.
“Have fun, let yourself experiment and enjoy the boundless benefits Wellesley offers. It’s perhaps the only time in your life living in a matriarchal society, and that’s a very special thing. And most importantly, take care of yourself,” she said. “Mental health is extremely important, sleep is extremely important and self-care in all categories is extremely important.”
Riegle cherishes Wellesley’s motto “women who will make a difference in the world” and keeps it in mind.
“I love that about Wellesley and hope the dedication to social justice and helping others carries on forever through our alumnus and current students. The world needs you,” she said.