SJGC alumna realizing her dream

Breanna Rittman’s professional headshot. Photo courtesy: Rittman

It is not always about how the journey starts, but how the journey is made.

Breanna Rittman made sure to make the best out of her journey in journalism. It wasn’t always easy, but she made sure to make the most out of each experience.

Rittman, a Gadsden County native, is the daughter of a schoolteacher and a retired military veteran.

During the time Rittman was growing up, Oprah Winfrey was one of the only African American women on everyone’s television, which sparked her interest in studying journalism.

Rittman knew she wanted to be the next generation’s Oprah.

Her passion for journalism also came from always being told that she was nosy and talkative. To her, she knew journalism was the right field to study in.

“I am getting a two for one special, I am basically getting paid to be myself and to do what I love,” Rittman said.

She carried the same love for journalism throughout her years of growing up.  Rittman entered FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication eager to study broadcast journalism. After taking a few classes, she shied away from broadcast and went more so just journalism.

Rittman did not fully walk away from her passion in broadcast journalism. She worked with the FAMU’s football team filming crew from 2014 to 2016.

While at FAMU, Rittman interned with the Gadsden County Times in 2013, and became a member of the Gamma Alpha Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta sorority in 2015.

After graduating in 2016, she did not go straight into her field but that was not stopping her from fulfilling her passion.

Although she worked other jobs that were not in her field, she continued to push herself to fill the shoes she knew were made for her.

Rittman landed her first job in the journalism field in 2020 at the Gadsden County Times, where she served numerous roles.

“I enjoyed working alongside Breanna at the Gadsden County Times,” Erin Hill said, the Gadsden County Times’ internship coordinator. “She’s not just a journalist. She’s a true historian. She collects news articles, photographs and obituaries and made me understand the importance of doing and to pass on our history.”

In August 2021, Rittman decided to venture out and took on a position as a news feature reporter at The Ledger, located in Lakeland.

While she was working for The Ledger, Rittman wrote an article on what happened to the Black community in the area.

With Rittman’s love for the Black community and journalism, she was able to write an article that other newspapers from across the country picked up, including one of the oldest papers here in America.

Although Rittman shied away from the broadcast aspect of journalism, she had a wakeup call to pursue her forever dream.

With the passing of one of her sorority sisters, who was working in broadcasting, she realized life is short and a person will never know when their time is coming.

“I remembered telling her often that she was going to end up on someone’s television reporting the news,” Sergeant E. McIntosh said, one of Rittman’s mentors. “Breanna Rittman is setting an example for anyone out there who’s ever dreamed of being exactly what they envision.”

Rittman’s first day at WMBD/ WYZZ. Photo Courtesy: Breanna Rittman

With that motivation, Rittman was able to talk to recruiters and landed the position of a multi-media journalist at WMBD News/WYZZ News in Peoria, Illinois.

Her first day was Aug. 8, and she has already helped with production, writing a script, and publishing a web story on Annie Malone Day.

“I know I am rusty, so I am looking forward to the sand papering process to take effect,” Rittman said.

Rittman is looking forward to growing as an MMJ while in Peoria and plans to be there at a minimum of two years, with hopes to move closer to home.

She said she will never forget where she comes from and is always using her helping hand to provide information on different internships to the students of FAMU’S SJGC.