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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Cynthia Schnabel

Class of 1999, Master's

Account Executive

After working in front of the camera for 5 years, I decided to move back to Los Angeles, for a “normal” life. I loved working in news, and always said I was going to stop when it stopped being fun. Now I’m working in sales and marketing and enjoying the Monday-Friday work week. Its amazing how working in news can really prepare you for any type of career you choose!


What are the top three skills journalism students should learn in college?:

Writing, deadlines, dealing with mean people

What were your duties at ATVN? :


What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

Realize that your life is going to change - drastically - once you start working in news. And remember that change can be good. I would strongly suggest people work on their production skills even if they want to work as talent (news directors love people who can put together a show). I was hired the day I graduated by KCBY-TV, the CBS affiliate in Coos Bay, Oregon, as an anchor/reporter. I also served as station mechanic, newsroom rat exterminator, and ordered office supplies. Most afternoons during my seven months there, I maneuvered an ‘81 Dodge Colt through sand dunes and treaded through sand in the rain (carrying 50 pounds of gear) to shoot video of the new Carissa ship that washed ashore along the southern Oregon coast. (This was the only story ever to hit Coos Bay). On a good day, the Portland crews would take pity on me and let me sit in their live van to get out of the downpour. I started at the ABC in Des Moines in February 2001 and am enjoying every minute of it.

What should graduates keep in mind when negotiating their first job?:

You won’t be paid a lot - so realize you are not taking a job for the money, but the experience.

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