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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Kaylan Eggert

Class of 2004, Bachelor's

I graduated in 2004 and got my first job as a production assistant at E! Entertainment Networks for E! True Hollywood Story.  While at E! True Hollwood Story, I worked on the episodes Sylvester Stallone, Paula Abdul, Tyra Banks, Montel Williams, NASCAR, and Gymnasts.  After a little over a year, I took a job as Associate Producer for The History Channel program Modern Marvels.  As an Associate Producer, I worked on the episodes Fire, Insulation, Levees, Tobacco, and Balls.  After about a year, I was promoted to Writer/Producer, which is what I am still doing today.  So far, I have produced a segment for Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters 18 about the MTBE water contamination in Santa Monica, and I am currently producing and writing Modern Marvels: Truck Stops.


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

1) Writing
2) Interviewing
3) Multi-tasking

What were your duties at ATVN? :

Playback Operator - Writer/Shooter/Editor - Technical Director - Producer - Director - Executive Producer

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

ATVN did so much to prepare me for my current job.  I currently have to coordinate and conduct all the interviews for my show, as well as write the episode and direct the editor during post production.  Working for ATVN taught me a lot about how to get interviewees to open up to the camera and how to write a concise yet informative and compelling script in a short amount of time.  Working on deadline helped me to deal with pressure, multi-task, and organize.

List any additional major(s) or minor(s) you had at USC. What impact have they had on your career?:

Working at ATVN paired with the broadcast journalism classes truly prepared me for my job.  Listen to your advisors - they know what they’re talking about. 

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

My advice to aspiring journalists is to never stop trying.  You will have to put in your time and work your way up the ladder, but a good attitude and a lot of hard work will get you far.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions because learning from your superiors will only help you in the future.  Also, don’t forget that the phone is the journalist’s number one tool.  While the Internet can help during initial research, you’ll be amazed at how much more information you will be able to gather by actually talking to people.

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

It’s important to know that getting into this industry is tough.  When I was first applying for jobs, I couldn’t even get anyone to take an interview with me.  You need to keep sending out your resume to as many jobs as you can, even if it’s not the ideal job.  Take what you can get and start networking.  Once you get your foot in the door and earn the respect of your colleagues, you’ll be able to move on to something even better.

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