Getting to Know #CSUSocial’s Newest Team Member: Hannah Tran

I'm the new Senior Social and Digital Media Specialist for CSU Social. It's nice to meet you.

Hannah Tran

My parents were always a bit peeved whenever I tried to wrestle the camcorder out of their hands while on vacation. Little did they know that they were witnessing the first signs of my inherent desire to capture the excitement of the moment, to share the unfamiliar. 

This desire first manifested as an urge to entertain and amuse my peers in high school. My earliest days of video production were in high school, where I anchored for the “Rebel News Network” at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO. I enjoyed having an outlet to express myself charismatically, from being serious to silly, every day. 

Those early experiences set the stage for my college pursuits. I worked as a news anchor, reporter, and producer at CTV11 campus news as an undergrad at Colorado State University. At the time, I yearned to be an on-air news reporter. I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Technical Communication, with a concentration in Television News and Video Communication, in spring of 2012.  

My first job fresh out of college was in the small, strange town of Brainerd, MN (yes, the one from Fargo), a bureau office for Lakeland Public Television, which was based in Bemidji, MN.  After over a year, I made the move to Rochester, MN, where I went from pre-recorded, on-camera reporting to live reporting. The live element was challenging; I no longer felt like I was a natural in front of the camera. I recognized that it was time to reassess my future in the industry. 

I simultaneously wanted to return home to Colorado and improve my video storytelling skills behind the lens. After a few aggressive job searches, I landed a job as a “photog” for KKTV 11 News in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I primarily worked as a videographer, setting up live shots for on-camera reporters and retrieved breaking news footage for the daily newscast.  

KKTV 11 had an emphasis on breaking news, which didn’t quite fit my style. Yet another job search ensued, and universal timing seemed to be on my side. The Colorado Springs Gazette, Colorado Springs’ legacy newspaper, was looking for a videographer. One thing led to another, and I was hired on to one of the most significant and defining jobs in my life.This is the position within which my filmmaking and visual storytelling skills blossomed, with more time, flexibility, and creativity that’s often difficult to find within the spatial and temporal constraints of television news. 

At the Colorado Springs Gazette, I produced my first batches of short documentaries and “cinema vérité” style short films. My stories were able to breathe on their own, with less of a “reporter presence.”  

Eventually, my boss at that time left for other pursuits. I applied for the Director of Video position and nabbed my first taste of management during the spring of 2018. As the Director of Video at the Colorado Springs Gazette, I led several initiatives to extend our reach on Instagram and rebranded our video department as a highly cinematic, immersive outlet for visual storytelling.  We wanted to unlock key features on Instagram through the growth of followers, which would then enable the use of the platform as a funneling tool to our website. We also valued producing micro-documentaries that often reflected the style and quality of films from major outlets like the Seattle Times and the New York Times. Both initiatives were very different from each other in approach and style, but they were integral for my goals in social media growth, as well as brand recognition. My team, with the help of my talented colleague, Katie Klann, won a number of national and international awards under my leadership. 

Eventually, though, the universe spoke again with a sudden change. My partner of four years applied for Colorado State University’s prestigious program at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She was accepted in spring of 2019. We left Colorado Springs and I returned to Fort Collins, where I decided to pursue a master’s in Journalism and Media Communication.  

My areas of study in my M.S. program include documentary filmmaking, narrative theory, and visual journalism. I am now in my final semester of grad school with only a thesis film to complete 

I absolutely love Fort Collins and CSU. I kept my eyes peeled for job opportunities within the university. One day, I saw a job description for “Senior Social and Digital Media Specialist” at CSU. I knew, once I saw it, that that was the job I truly wanted. In the past, I applied for several jobs at CSU, but something about this job description in particular stirred my heart and spirit unlike the others. My intuition was loud and clear. 

My intuitive pursuit led me to where I am now. I can proudly say that I’m currently the Senior Social and Digital Media Specialist for CSU’s Social and Digital Media Team. I hope that this opportunity not only expands my expertise in video storytelling and social media management, but also to allow for the exploration of less seasoned areas like photography, graphic design, and writing. I’m incredibly proud to be a CSU Ram and to play a lead role in generating fresh ideas to connect with the next generation of innovators, leaders and professionals at CSU.