Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Rob McPherson

Class of 2006, Bachelor's


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

1. Writing – The best journalists are the best writers.  This is the single most important skill because people can tell instantly what kind of journalist you are based on the way you tell a story.  Work hard on this skill, it will separate you in this very competitive field.

2. Shooting/Editing – You may not have to shoot and edit yourself your whole career, but you will in your first job for sure.  Professional video and editing is what I use to judge how well rounded a reporter is.  Make sure you’re stories are told in the highest quality in all aspects, including what the viewer sees and when they see it.

3. Producing – The best reporters/anchors are also the best producers.  They end up being the most successful too.  When a reporter can understand the components to producing a show well, it will show it in the way they produce their individual packages.  I have been able to separate myself because I can produce, write, shoot edit all while telling a story.  When you can do it all…stations will think you are very valuable, and it will lead to a job.

What were your duties at ATVN? :

Sports Director/Sports Specials Manager, Executive Producer, Producer, Reporter, Assistant Director, W/S/E, Graphics

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

ATVN gives you the opportunity to learn, build and improve your skills in all aspects of journalism.  It taught me to write, produce, report, anchor and manage a department.  I use all of these skills everyday in my current job as a sports director.  ATVN gives you the tools and opportunity…it’s up to you to take advantage of an amazing opportunity.

The opportunities ATVN game me to pursue.  I was able to produce three sports feature shows.  I had the chance to interview some of the highest profile coaches and athletes in the nation.  ATVN laid the groundwork for my journalism skills, and gave me the opportunity to hone them.  Take that advantage.  It’s worth spending the additional hours working at ATVN.  Those “overtime” projects and work is what will separate you from the rest of your competition when getting a job.  The more time you spend at ATVN, the better you will be when you make it to your first station.

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

Have some fun.  You have to love what you’re doing in order to make it in this business.  Enjoy breaking stories, trying something new in a rundown…challenging people around you to do something exciting.  Excitement will breed enthusiasm, and you need to be passionate in order to succeed.  Never be satisfied with your work.  You can always improve.  If you continue to push yourself, you’ll continue to be one of the best no matter what station and market you’re in.

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

Know what you are getting into with your job.  The first one can be tough to get…but remember it’s going to be your life for at least the next two years.  Make sure you like the area and station.  Like the people you will be working with and make sure your news director and seasoned journalist are willing to continue to teach you and help you improve.  Don’t look at it as a station that has to GIVE you something huge in terms of money or benefits…look at it more as a paid internship that will give you the additional skills that will land you a HUGE jump in markets after that contract is up.

Twitter Feed