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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Elizabeth Wagner

Class of 2005, Bachelor's

As a member of the NBC Page Program, Liz had the opportunity to work for such shows as Dateline, Saturday Night Live and Late Night With Conan O’Brien and worked with a host of NBC correspondents and producers.

Previous to her year in The Big Apple, Liz attended USC - Go Trojans! In 2005 she graduated with honors from the Annenberg School of Communications with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. While Liz was a reporter and anchor for ATVN - USC’s news station - she learned the value of telling a good story.

She credits NBC correspondent Bob Dotson for sustaining her passion for storytelling. “I look for the kind of guy who may never run for mayor or go to the moon or transplant a heart, but whose story may touch a viewer’s heart,” Dotson once said. And Liz is ever-moved by his philosophy.

In her spare time Liz enjoys performing on stage, singing, watching movies, trying out new restaurants and visiting her family in The Bay Area.


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

1) Writing
2) Live Shots
3) Thinking about how to write your story even before you do your interviews.

What were your duties at ATVN? :

Writer/Shooter/Editor, Reporter, Weather Anchor, News Anchor

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

ATVN is the real deal and has prepared me in so many ways! The most important thing ATVN taught me is how to KISS (keep it short and simple) and write effectively under deadline pressure.

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

These are the three biggest pieces of advice I received when I was a college reporter:
1) Practice reading copy conversationally. Take an old script from an ATVN broadcast and record yourself reading it out loud.
2) Take every story seriously. Treat your report about a Christmas tree lighting with the same amount of integrity as you would treat your report about a murder. You will gain respect from the community and your bosses.
3) Become a television journalist because you love to tell stories--not because you want to become famous. You must love people and love communicating their most basic wants, needs and fears.

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

Decide where you want to live for six months to two years at a time. I knew I wanted to be within the top 120 market range starting out, but I also knew I didn’t want to pick up and move to an area of the country where I didn’t feel comfortable. I only applied to stations in Nevada and California because living near my family was very important to me. Sometimes I think young reporters are too eager to take the first job they get. Reporting can be lonely. Think about where you will be happy.

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