I grew up in Rancho Mirage, CA, and I came to USC to pursue an economics degree. On a whim, I auditioned for an anchor spot at ATVN and, somehow, I got it! I spent the next four years living in the newsroom,
mostly sleeping under the assignment desk. I graduated with a degree in Political Science and got a job as a political reporter in Bismarck, North Dakota in 2005. In 2006, I started as a reporter for WTMJ in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
What are the top three skills journalism students should learn in college?:
Patience- small-market jobs can be trying, but that’s why it’s called “paying your dues”. If you can make it, it’s all uphill from there.
Ambition- It’s easy to get complacent after working somewhere for a while. But if you keep working to improve, you will make a much bigger jump when you get out.
Integrity- It’s too early to compromise on your beliefs.
What were your duties at ATVN? :
News anchor/reporter, sports reporter 2000-2001; executive producer 2001-2003; news anchor/reporter 2003-2004
How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:
ATVN beats any internship or class. I learned how to work under deadline in a newsroom environment. Shooting and editing skills are crucial at your first job. Most importantly, I learned to love reporting the news at ATVN.
High standards. Expectations at ATVN were always high, and that meant that I needed to get better to meet them. Storytelling and writing ability are also key.
What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:
Spend a lot of time watching reporters and anchors who are better than you. I love watching a talented journalist, and trying to make myself better by following their example.
What should graduates keep in mind when negotiating their first job?:
Make it for as short a time as possible. Small markets are trying to sign people for longer periods of time nowadays, but most people learn everything they can within the first year. Try to get a short contract, with a reasonable out-clause.