I got my current anchoring job at FOX5 in San Diego after trying for a year or so to get back home to Southern California. I met with just about everyone in town and I was persistent. As they say, that pays off!
I spent the previous 6 1/2 years working in Orlando, FL at the NBC affiliate, WESH.
I anchored just about every show. Mornings, evenings, weekends, you name it.
I made that 130+ market jump to Orlando, from KESQ-ABC in Palm Springs, CA.
I spent 2 1/2 years as weekend anchor at KESQ.
I landed that job 2 weeks after graduation.
Part of WESH news team that won Alfred I. duPont Award covering the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.
Member of WESH news team that won EMMY award for its coverage of the deadly February 2007 tornadoes.
What are the top three skills journalism students should learn in college?:
WRITING. WRITING. WRITING.
1) Writing - Learn to write to television news. ACTIVE VOICE, ACTIVE VOICE, ACTIVE VOICE. It will feel strange at first, but train yourself!
2) Enterprising Stories - Part of being a good journalist is coming up with your OWN stories, and not just doing what’s in the paper, or what the assignment desk tells you to do. This is a very difficult part of the job but take note. EVERY news director loves a good reporter who comes in every day with his or her own story idea, a reporter who’s passionate about that story, and who will fight to get it on the air.
3) Networking - Once you start your job, do all you can to immerse yourself in your new community. Meet the leaders, the educators, the so-called ‘movers and shakers’ and anyone you’ll be able to use as a source or as a go-to person for stories! Before you know it, you’ll have people calling YOU with ideas!
What were your duties at ATVN? :
Producer, reporter, writer, editor
anchor, reporter, producer
How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:
ATVN is the best experience you can have while still in school. It’s the closest simulation to the real thing. Put in as much time as you can at ATVN, and take full advantage of everything they offer. From the expertise of the staff (pick their brains as much as possible) to the equipment, which is better than the equipment at most small-market stations! Learn everything - editing, writing, producing - because it will all come into play in “the real world.” Thanks to Victor Webb! and Serena Cha!
What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:
LOVE WHAT YOU DO and get into this business for the right reasons, because it will test you. Local news is struggling right now to re-invent itself and to find its new role in this digital-online world. That struggle is being reflected in the on-going lay-offs and firings nationwide. But keep at it and don’t be discouraged. It’s a very tough business, and you’ll need to be sure it’s what you want to do before you jump in. That’ll help you get over the very low starting pay. But there is hope. Plus, there is no job you’ll have that is more fascinating, interesting and rewarding. It’s amazing the people you’ll meet, the stories you’ll tell, and you’ll find yourself right in the middle of history.
What should graduates keep in mind when negotiating their first job?:
Be willing and open to do ANYTHING. When you first start out at a small market, you have to be aware that there are a thousand people waiting right behind you, resume tape in hand, to take your job. Don’t become paranoid, but use it to drive you and motivate you do improve and grow. Accept the fact you won’t get paid a lot of money. But after six months or so, you might be due for a raise, so renegotiate if you can. I would avoid long contracts (longer than 2 years).
Any other comments?:
Be willing and open to do ANYTHING. When you first start out at a small market, you have to be aware that there are a thousand people waiting right behind you, resume tape in hand, to take your job. Don’t become paranoid, but use it to drive you and motivate you do improve and grow. Accept the fact you won’t get paid a lot of money. But after six months or so, you might be due for a raise, so renegotiate if you can. I would avoid long contracts (longer than 2 years). I did not have an agent for the first 6 years in was in TV news and I negotiated my own deals. I got an agent just 3 years ago, to help move me from orlando back to the tough southern California market. And it paid off. GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU AND FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME ANYTIME!