Let Us Introduce You: Pamela Rolfe

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Professor talks Spain, family, life as a journalist


As an international journalist, professor and loving mother, Madrid professor Pamela Rolfe’s time is pretty much consumed. This, however, doesn’t seem to stop the Saint Louis University professor from setting aside enough time to teach an inspiring course to the future-generation journalists.

Rolfe teaches a news writing course at the SLU campus in Madrid and continues to immensely enjoy this aspect of her life.

“I love working with the students and seeing that moment when they understand the difference between a regular news item and great journalism,” stated Rolfe. “I hope to teach my students to distinguish between news and other information, and to imbue them with enthusiasm for the field.”

As a part of her news writing course and inspiring students to engage with the material, Rolfe uses hands-on journalism projects that give the students experience in the field. One such project consists of a field trip to a public park where students can interview random Spaniards for their news writing articles. Fun class engagement like this could be the reason why so many students take a liking to this Madrid professor.

Rolfe was born in Clearwater, Fla., but has been living in Spain for almost 23 years and has been teaching at SLU Madrid for seven years now.

Rolfe received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy at the University of Florida and then continued her education there by receiving her Masters in Mass Communication.

Before receiving the Masters, however, Rolfe spent some time teaching English and having fun in Spain and became enamored enough with the country to return back once her studies were completed. She has dabbled with many news and media sources, but they all have one thing in common: Spain.

“My specialty is Spain,” said Rolfe. “I’ve written for many U.S. and British media—but always about Spain.”

She currently writes for The Washington Post, covering general news, finance and feature stories as well as for The Hollywood Reporter about the film and TV industries in Spain, as these are both very important aspects to the Spanish culture. Rolfe began her work in the journalism industry at the Madrid bureau of the Associated Press.

“That’s where I really learned what it takes to be a journalist and become familiar with the various issues in Spain. After that, I went to Reuters—the British news agency—but still [was] in Madrid. One thing led to another…”

Although the journalism professor’s idea of her field was slightly skewed at the beginning, she has found significant meaning and passion in what she does.

“Originally, I think I had a more glamourous idea of what it was, traveling and writing,” she stated. “It is that, too, but I like to think of journalism—the journalism I write—as a bridge between cultures or people. Helping to forge trans-Atlantic knowledge of the other. Sounds kind of far-fetched… but, it’s true. I love where I am and what I’m doing.”

All of this hard work leaves Rolfe with a greater appreciation for her vacation and free time, which according to her is family time. All of her interests revolve around her family and work, and with family in the U.S., she always has reason to return back to her roots.

“As a Florida girl, I’m particularly drawn to the beach and try to get there whenever I can. My family has a ranch in Colorado in the San Juan Mountains at 10,000 ft. where I go every summer. It’s the best place to disconnect from the world. There is no Internet connection even. Just the sounds of nature, deer, trees, mountains and the odd bear!”