Carponelli: Reporter turned professor turned business owner

by Zoe Seiler, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — No day is the same when working in a newsroom and interacting with people. It is exciting and exhausting but teaches the reporter about the lives of others. This is what professor Lisa Carponelli enjoyed the most about her job as a broadcast reporter.

“I really enjoyed the chance to get out and interact with people and find out what it is they do and why they do it and what makes them tick,” she said. “That was really rewarding for me.”

However, covering local news can be tough. Reporters will cover stories that are positive and stories about crime and loss, stories that are hard for the community to hear and hard for the reporter to tell.

“In some ways it hardens you because you feel like you’ve seen a lot of really tough stuff. In the very same vein you can be very humbled by how absolutely incredible people can be,” Carponelli said. “It’s one of those jobs where you meet people at every stage of life, across the spectrum. You really do sort of interact with the human experience.”

As a reporter, Carponelli had to learn the ethics of what she could film and the laws that allowed her to do her job.

Brian Steffen, department chair of communication and media studies, invited her to speak to his Media Law and Ethics class to discuss the ethics of broadcast journalism. She enjoyed speaking to this class and had always liked the idea of teaching.

Carponelli began teaching at Simpson in fall 2008 at a time when the internet and video were becoming common. Now more websites and organizations use video to tell stories.

“Video has done nothing but explode, making sure students are literate at video production,” she said. “Basically shooting and editing video and distributing it. That’s a skill that I don’t think is going away.”

Carponelli teaches storytelling techniques, ethics of video, laws about what can be filmed and relevant issues to the class. No day is the same. Her classes are constantly changing with the growing field of journalism and video.

Simpson not only gave Carponelli the opportunity to teach but also helped her grow her business, Velorosa.

Carponelli and her business partner, Kim Hopkins, formed a partnership in December 2013 with the idea of designing cycling wear for women.

“Our business was born at RAGBRAI in July of 2015,” Carponelli said. “We packed up all of these jerseys and shorts and bought a tent. We thought, ‘I hope this doesn’t fall apart. I hope this is a good idea. I hope this doesn’t collapse.’. We had a fantastic response when we opened up our tent. That was validating.”

Carponelli and her business partner needed help from others because neither had experience in business. They brought their business idea to Simpson to work with faculty and students.

She worked with Marilyn Mueller’s classes with social media concepts and a business plan. Professor Mark Juffernbruch and a student have helped with accounting. Professor Jane Murphy has looked at press releases.

“So, all of these opportunities to work with faculty in their respective disciplines and talk about it with students and other individuals, it has been nothing but positive,” Carponelli said. “And Simpson has been incredibly supportive. Students have been supportive. Students ask about it. I feel very fortunate that I can kind of marry the two together.”