By Mahbuba Matovu,
Every profession needs a communicator and Malissa Wilson is that connection between the law and the people. Despite growing up in a house full of scientists, Wilson did not let that stop her from pursuing her dreams and becoming a journalist.
In 1991, she set out to begin her professional journey as a journalist at Texas Southern University. Soon after graduation, she followed in the footsteps of her professor, Serbino Sandifer-Walker, and attended the University of Columbia, to pursue a Masters of Science in Journalism. She then worked in the journalism profession for a few years before attending the University of Mississippi where she earned her law degree.
Now a Houston area attorney, Wilson believes that being a strong writer is a skill that can transfer to any profession.
“A lot of the skills that I learned in journalism like writing, researching and being inquisitive, transferred well into my law career,” Wilson told students during an alumni panel discussion held on April 12th 2016.
Wilson took courses in communications law and first amendment law then proceeded to work in a law firm. The firm did not have a first amendment section, however one of the senior attorneys took her under his wing and together, they became the only two attorneys at the firm doing first amendment work.
Being a first amendment constitutionalist involves defending newspapers that are being sued by individuals for defamation, self censorship and copyright matters. At times, lawyers are even planted in news organizations to rebuke content before it is actually released, in order to determine whether there are any legal complications that will come from the particular news story.
Wilson is all about first impressions and creating a career out of one’s niche, whether it’s cooking, sports, or even travelling.
“You have to shine and not be afraid to do so. Act like who you want to be, play in the role that you ultimately want to fulfill and dress like that role that you want to be in. First impressions are everything in the career where looks do matter,” Wilson said during the panel.
“It’s important to find your passion and build your skillset around it because you make yourself more marketable when you are doing something that you’re passionate about.”
Wilson has taken her career in law and used it in the field of journalism in a very creative way, making her the success that she is.
“If you are a strong writer, that will carry you very far. That is a good skillset that you certainly should not leave here after the four years,” Wilson said.