Alumni Feature: Jacob Dinsmore (PPE ’14)
Jake Dinsmore’s (PPE ’14) willingness to respect those with differing opinions has proved invaluable in his work as an associate producer at Fox News.
Jacob Dinsmore (PPE ’14) never expected that his retail job at Lucky Brand Jeans would lead toa full-time job producing national television. Nevertheless, his job led to a chance encounter with a Sirius XM Radio executive, who in turn recommended him to executives at Fox News. Today Jake is an associate producer for The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton, a 9 p.m. Sunday show.
Nothing could have prepared Jake for the first six months of working in the intense environment of live TV. Between the fast pace, overnight hours, and steep learning curve, Jake found himself overwhelmed by new responsibilities. He describes it as “a sink-or-swim environment.” Jake writes scripts and monologues for news anchors, and especially enjoys researching various topics for his work. The segment “Swamp Watch,” which Jake writes for, tackles government hypocrisies, lobbyists, and self-interested public servants. He credits King’s professors such as Dr. David Tubbs and Prof. Paul Glader for teaching him to use precise language to communicate effectively. Classes such as Constitutional Law, Public Policy, and Persuasive Writing and Speaking were formative for Jake. He hopes to one day use these skills to communicate his own ideas, rather than ghostwriting for others.
Even though he has excelled at his job, Jake has still faced unduly harsh criticism from stressed-out bosses. Often, these bosses were merely venting their frustrations to whomever happened to be standing around. Jake learned quickly that he could not base his self-worth on such arbitrary and unstable ground as other people’s emotions. Instead, he found solace in his faith, for Christians measure their self-worth neither by worldly success nor the opinions of others. Jake roots his self-worth, confidence, and identity in Christ, and he understands that difficulty is part of the journey.
“We don’t embrace difficulty for difficulty’s sake,” says Jake. “We’re not masochists. But Jesus was very clear that the Christian walk was going to be hard, that people are going to reject you, and that there’s going to be pain and suffering in this world.” Jake sees difficulty as a normal and healthy component both of spiritual growth as well as the pursuit of worthy goals on this earth. Pursuing the King’s mission also means accepting difficulty.
When Jake graduated, his father asked him how he would summarize his King’s education. Jake replied, “People who I disagree with have better reasons than I assume they do.” After growing up in Seattle, which he describes as a sort of bubble, Jake says that “meeting other people with different points of view helped me realize that the world was not as black and white as I thought it was.” The cosmopolitan culture of New York inspired Jake to give others the benefit of the doubt, even while he pursued God’s truth at King’s.
Furthermore, his experiences at King’s taught him to value different perspectives on political and religious issues. Dr. Dru Johnson’s classes on biblical literature showed Jake that there was more room for debate within the Christian community than Jake had initially supposed. “There’s something beautiful and valuable about learning about other ways of thinking of things, and learning to respect those ideas and the people who hold them,” says Jake.
Jake’s openness to differing opinions helps him navigate his work at Fox News, which often involves political issues and partisan tensions. Amidst the perpetual competition for ratings, the network executives are aware that segments tearing down Hillary Clinton, for example, rate far better than those segments which praise Donald Trump. Although politics has increasingly centered on identifying enemies rather than core principles, Jake says, “There’s a difference between being conservative and being anti-liberal.”
Jake believes that demonizing and assigning blame is counterproductive. He would rather build up others. Jake and his wife Alex, whom he met at King’s, attend Wellspring Church in Queens. He says that the church and his friends have been a great support to him, especially during those difficult six months of acclimating to his new job. He hopes to one day move on to graduate school, where he can share his ideas with others.