Elex Michaelson is a reporter for ABC7 in Los Angeles. Elex previously worked as a reporter and anchor for San Diego 6 News.
He won the 2009 Emmy Award for most outstanding arts/entertainment story. He was also nominated for oustanding journalistic enterprise.
Michaelson is a self-described “political junkie.” He joined San Diego 6’s Jenny Hamel as the only television reporters in San Diego to report live from President Barack Obama’s Inauguration in Washington D.C. Michaelson was also the only San Diego television journalist to report from the 2008 Republican Convention in St. Paul, MN.
Michaelson was named one of the top 11 interns in the entire NBC Universal Corporation based on his political stories that aired nationwide. He reported from the White House, Capitol Hill, and Supreme Court for NBC News Channel. For KNBC Los Angeles, he contributed from the campaign trail of the 2008 presidential primaries and the 2006 California gubernatorial race. He began his career reporting entertainment for KTTV’s “Good Day LA”.
Michaelson has helped interview newsmakers including: Sen. Hillary Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fmr. Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Michaelson attended the University of Southern California and graduated first in his class from the Annenberg School of Journalism. He earned Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors while earning dual degrees in broadcast journalism and political science.
At USC, Michaelson anchored a nightly evening newscast, a celebrity interview talk show, and moderated and produced a political debate program. The William Randolph Hearst foundation selected him as one of the top 5 college broadcasters in the country for his feature reporting.
Outside of television, Michaelson is especially proud of his charity work. He co-founded the Get Hands On campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness --a celebrity t-shirt campaign. George Clooney, Keira Knightley, and Sheryl Crowe were among the 30 star participants. Promoting the campaign, Michaelson appeared on NBC’s TODAY Show, Access Hollywood, E! News and inside People Magazine. The campaign raised more than $80,000.
Michaelson is a Southern California native who was raised in Agoura Hills, CA. He enjoys playing basketball, working out, traveling, eating well, cheering on the Trojans and the Chargers, and most of all, relaxing with family and friends. There is no place he would rather be at than the beach-one of the many reasons he is so excited to be reporting for San Diego 6!
USC’s Outstanding Scholarship Student (2008)
Hearst Award for Top College Broadcaster National Finalist (2008)
Herb Klein Scholarship for Top Political Journalist (2007)
Richard Drake Slocum Memorial Scholarship Winner (2007)Survey
What are the top three skills journalism students should learn in college?:
1. Listening- look above for more
2. Telling stories like a human being- practice explaining the story you are talking about to your non-journalism friends. Then, realize how different that is from your script. Don’t fall into the trap that you sound like a news robot, nobody wants to hear that.
3. Read and Watch Everything-Aspiring film makers study the greats, as do musicians and painters. Why should journalists be any different?
There are reasons people like Brian Williams, Scott Pelley, Charlie Gibson, Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, and others get to where they are at. Study them--but don’t copy them. Figure out how their skill sets can make you better, not how you can impersonate Tom Brokaw (trust me, I’ve tried. The voice is harder than you think).
What were your duties at ATVN? :
Anchor, Reporter, W/S/E, Floor Director, Sports Reporter
How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:
First off, all the technology (iNews, Avid) is the same at my current job and at ATVN.
More than that, it prepared me for the daily deadline pressure and how to think in terms of video. Being able to “one man band” in a few hours at ATVN when no one wants to call you back makes it seem like a piece of cake when you have a photographer, editor, and willing interview subjects to work with!
What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:
BE AGGRESSIVE- There are more journalists out there than jobs available and if you don’t ask questions and stand out, someone else will. Our job is to find information, if you are timid and uncomfortable seeking out sources and coming up with new ideas, maybe this isn’t the right profession for you. Most people are nice and willing to help, all you have to do is ASK! Even if they are not so nice, you have to find a way to charm them anyways.
INTERN-ATVN can prepare for the technical execution of a news broadcast, but there is nothing like being around a real, professional working newsroom and the contacts that go with it. Still, it is easy to get lost in the bureaucracy of the newsroom.
You need to realize it is not the working reporter’s job to provide an educational experience for you. It is your job to make their work easier for them!
Instead of simply asking “what can I do to help” (which means they have to work to think of something for you to do), take it upon yourself to suggest things to do. Or, just do them!
If you work your butt off, don’t ever be uncomfortable asking to shoot a stand-up every time you go into the field. They may feel weird at first, but the more you do them, the better you will get.
Having a great deal of professionally shot stand-ups at the end of your college career will make your tape stand out from the competition. Ultimately, the most important thing in getting hired is how strong your resume tape is.
LISTEN-USC and your internship is filled with some of the smartest people you will ever meet. When you go out on your stories, you will meet some of the most extraordinary people on the planet.
It is natural to tense up, feel intimidated, stare at your list of questions, and try not to mess up when around them. Resist that urge. LISTEN to what they tell you. Chances are, it is more profound than what is on your paper. They will give you better sound bites if they feel you are engaged in a genuine conversation with them, and you will become a smarter and more well rounded human being. Isn’t that why we go into this profession to begin with?
What should graduates keep in mind when negotiating their first job?:
Contrary to what people might tell you, you are a human being that deserves the ability to eat at least a cracker or two.
Cal State students and teachers are angry about proposed education cuts.
A call to action for USC students as Trojan football considers moving to the Rose Bowl
Even though life-long Trojan Lou Galen has passed away, his legacy lives on at USC.
ATVN's Elex Michaelson talks with USC students about why they would sign up for wartime service
The latest on the arson investigation in the Santiago wildfire
Interviews with Malibu residents after they were allowed back into their homes