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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Dave Strumpf

Class of 2005, Bachelor's


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

1) Shooting - Chances are, you'll be shooting your own stories at your first broadcasting job. Sometimes reporters overlook how important the visual aspect of the story is. No matter how interesting your story is, a strong sequence of images is what keeps the viewers from changing the channel. Keep the camera on the tripod as much as possible. Don't forget to white balance.

2) Time Management - Always keep an eye on the clock and know your limits. If it takes you two hours to edit a package, make sure you get back to the station by 4:00 for a 6:00 spot. If you are an editing whiz, you can spend more time out in the field getting better shots or an extra interview. If you are stuck waiting for an interview or edit bay, use the time to start thinking about how you want to tell your story.

3) Overall people skills. Don't forget to be friendly to everyone you meet, whether you are in the field working on a story, or on your day-off running errands. The relationships you make are key to your success in a small town, especially one where everyone knows everyone. You never know, they could soon come to you with an Emmy-winning news scoop.

What were your duties at ATVN? :

Sports Anchor and Floor Director

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

Aside from all the basic skills (shooting, editing, producing), one of the best experiences I gained from ATVN was dealing in a fast-paced environment. In the newsroom the hours can feel like minutes as you are racing to put together a story, find an open edit bay, and produce a PKG by deadline. ATVN was a great experience in learning how to multi-task, focus, and put a story together in such little time.

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

Make sure you are having fun. Find stories that interest you. The more you are invested in a topic, a better story almost always comes out.

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

You went to USC and worked at ATVN, which immediately gives you a leg-up on any other candidate trying out for that first job. Exploit that. You are a reporter who can make an immediate and positive impact on the station's on-air product.

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