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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Matt Seigel

Class of 2003, Bachelor's


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

1. Be ready to do more with less - I am the only person in our sports department, which means I put together four minutes a day on my own. You will write, report, edit, and more than likely shoot all of your own work. 

2.  Escape the idea that things need to be perfect - At ATVN, we are lucky to have two dedicated professors that can guide us and offer constant editorial advice. That, coupled with a much larger newsroom, allows you to expect top-notch work. Not that my work here isn’t top-notch, but when push comes to shove, if it’s five minutes before air and it’s not perfect, so what? It’s got to air, and that’s the most important part. 

3.  Expect the unexpected - In your first job, you will probably be assigned to a number of beats. Being a part of a news team is kind of like sports in that you’ve really got to get along with everyone because you never know how someone will come to you with a great idea.  You need to be able to do the same, and think outside the box. 

What were your duties at ATVN? :

If it had something to do with sports, I did it! I started out by helping sports anchors with graphics, editing, and shooting of various events. I later became a reporter and anchor, covering USC sports from head to toe. I also had a few cameos in news, mostly for class-related assignments, but they too were a fun challenge.

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

There is NO better preparation for the real world than ATVN, which offers an experience unmatched by other schools.  From the ability to report and anchor in an actual setting, to learning about deadline pressure (which is SO important to fully understand and appreciate), ATVN provided me with the tools needed to succeed in my first job. 

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

First, if you don’t absolutely love it, don’t waste your time. I work with people that can’t wait for their contracts to come up so they can get out of the business - it’s gut-wrenching, pressure-filled, and thankless. But if you are serious about it, do EVERYTHING you can at ATVN and anywhere else. I, along with many news directors I’ve spoken with, value an opportunity like ATVN much higher than any internship you might have in LA. If USC was in a smaller market and you could do more in an internship, that wouldn’t be the case; save the internships for the summer. But if you know this is the career you want to live out, GO FOR IT!

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