At age 11, I was on a local kids educational program called “The Idea Factory” at the ABC-affiliate in Fresno. It was the first time I had been in a newsroom, seen a newscast live and well, needless to say, I was hooked.
Everything from that moment onwards had been about being a broadcast journalist. I gave up watching football with friends senior year of high school so that I could be sideline with a photog covering the games as an intern for the Fresno NBC-affiliate instead. I chose USC over UCLA because of Annenberg and more specifically, ATVN and Trojanvision. While in college, I interned for an entertainment PR agency(wasn’t my thing, but I’ll never forget stuffing Eva Longoria’s press kits before she was famous and shopping with Michael Madsen,) spent my sophomore year interning with Good Morning America’s LA Bureau (where interestingly enough, ran into Eva Longoria and the publicist I had interned for while at the American Music Awards,) and then spent the summers after sophomore and junior year interning at the ABC-affiliate in Fresno. Within a month after graduation, I had sent out about 20 tapes and got 2 reporting offers - one in Yakima, Washington and the other in Springfield, Massachusetts.
I went with Springfield and one buyout and four months later...had lost my job as the morning live reporter. After months of “figuring it out” and sending out a number of dvds, it was a random email that led to my current job at TV Guide. I started out writing clever teases for the show “Hollywood 411.” A month into it, I missed reporting, so I started freelancing as a one-man-band reporter for the ABC station in Bakersfield on weekends (Yes, I worked 7 days a week for 6 months straight.) When given the opportunity to work full time in Bakersfield, I decided instead to stick with TV Guide, and at that point, started field producing and creating packages for the them. Interviewing celebrities is way different than interviewing politicians, police officials, and the neighbor-who-just-got-robbed, but it’s an experience nonetheless!Survey
What are the top three skills journalism students should learn in college?:
1) Be invaluable. Being able to write, shoot and edit is a skill that is essential in this economy - especially when it comes to your first job. The one-man-band thing is the money-saving way to go, and let’s face it, most 1st-job stations have limited funds to spare. Beyond that, be tech-savvy. Blog, twitter, know how to post stories to the web… be able to do the things your older co-workers aren’t hip to yet.
2) Take advantage of Annenberg. You know how they always send out emails about different events with various speakers, and you probably make the mental note of going but never do? Well...GO! These sessions are opportunities to network, and well, networking in both journalism and entertainment is KEY!
3) Don’t try to be something you’re not. Just because you think a tv personality is supposed to act or speak in a certain way, doesn’t mean that’s the way to go about. Discover your strengths and cultivate them - create a niche for yourself, it’ll be a great marketing tool. You do your best when you’re just yourself. (Meaning don’t front like you know all about stocks when you’re secretly at your desk reading about the latest on Britney Spears.)
What were your duties at ATVN? :
Executive Producer, Producer, Anchor, Reporter, Sports Volunteer, Writer/Shooter/Editor, Camera 2 Operator, Floor Director, Playback, Assignment Editor
How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:
ATVN is the best training an aspiring journalist can get.
In terms of my current job, well, ATVN taught me to package, and package quickly, it taught me to deal with all sorts of personalities, and it stressed the importance of deadlines.
Oh and can’t forget iNews training. I’ve used iNews in all 3 of my jobs post-college, never needing a tutorial thanks to ATVN.
What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:
There’s no set path to pursuing your dreams. I thought I had my whole life planned out - small town reporter for 2 years, medium town for 2 years, then hopefully, the big time after that.
Just know that no matter how much you plan, life can ultimately take a different turn, and you just have to be ready to roll with the punches
What should graduates keep in mind when negotiating their first job?:
If you have a job offer somewhere and you know another station likes your tape but might not have an opening just yet, make sure that station knows you’re in demand! They may make an exception if they really like you, and having 2 job options is never a bad thing.
A half-hour health and wellness special for students and their families.
Interviews with Annenberg faculty and staff about the contributions of outgoing Dean Geoffrey Cowan
Samia Khan reports on one of the most watched Los Angeles school board elections in years
Samia Khan looks at how Los Angeles and the federal government are teaming up to solve L.A's traffic problem.
ATVN's Samia Khan found out how student demand brought about the first 24-hour campus eatery.
Samia Khan talked to low-income residents forced to move out of the downtown Dome Village due to rising rents
ATVN'S SAMIA KHAN HAS MORE ON A PROPOSITION THAT WOULD CHANGE HOW EMINENT DOMAIN IS HANDLED.
Samia Khan reports on a new HIV awareness campaign causing controversy in the gay community
Samia Khan found out what some green-shirted ambassadors are doing to make the USC area safer