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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Jeff Robinson

Class of 2007, Bachelor's

After graduating from USC in December 2006, Jeff joined KIDK, a CBS affiliate in Idaho Falls, as a weekend anchor and reporter in the Pocatello bureau.  In January 2008, he was hired as the afternoon host at KCPW, an NPR affiliate in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Within a month, he became the morning host, and took on the role of news director as well in July of that year.


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

1.  Finding story ideas.  It is essential in small-town markets that you be able to find a story on a slow news day.  Being the weekend bureau reporter in eastern Idaho taught me that very quickly.

2.  Writing.  Learn to write quickly but accurately, using correct grammar and getting the right facts the first time.  You’ll become a much better reporter if you do this.

3.  On-air presence.  I struggled at KIDK because my live, on-air presence was simply too stiff.  Learn to overcome this while still at ATVN.

What were your duties at ATVN? :

Audio board operator, writer/shooter/editor, reporter, and anchor.

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

I’m in radio now, but everything I learned at ATVN prepared me very well for my first job right out of college, where I also had to shoot my own video as a one-man-band.

However, there are a few things in the real world that are quite different from ATVN.  For one, at smaller stations, you can expect to have to turn in more than one package a day.  Usually, it was a package and two VOSOTs for me.  Also, the amount of input you get from your news director varies widely.  I reported the majority of my pieces with no input from the ND until after it had aired.  Finally, there is no shortage of stories to cover in Los Angeles.  It is a major struggle to find stories to cover in small town America.  It will probably be the single-most difficult challenge you face in your first job out of college.

ATVN and 402, plain and simple.  ATVN for the day-of-air pressure and the anchoring, 402 for the ability to dig up story ideas, do research, contact and schedule interviews in advance, build relationships, and improve my voice. 

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

Take ATVN and your advanced journalism classes very seriously.  Nothing prepares you better at USC for your first job out of college.  Become an expert in finding stories.  When Annenberg makes talent coaches available, work with them in honing your on-air presence.  It really affects how far you’ll go in the business.  Lastly, work on your writing, and go over all your previous packages to figure out how you could have written them better.

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

Be very careful in looking over the contract you’re given before you sign it.  You probably won’t be able to actually negotiate.  They’ll tell you the terms, and you can take it or leave it.


October 5, 2006

Jeff Robinson talked with hundreds of nurses and supporters who marched downtown today for their rights


September 21, 2006

Jeff Robinson talks with religious leaders who gathered downtown to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace.

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