Ask A Pro
Examples of Work
Ron's BBQ and its 'pig palaces on wheels'
Parents question moving students out of community
Rock Hill, S.C.
Why did you become a journalist?
Even though I have always enjoyed writing, I didn't always want to be a journalist -- I originally wanted to be an attorney. However, the university that I went to for my undergraduate studies didn't really have a pre-law related major. So, I decided that I would pursue a degree in broadcast journalism, since that would help enhance my verbal and written communication skills, a must for any attorney. The first semester of my sophomore year, I had to take a newswriting course. As part of the class, we had to generate a minimum of two stories a week for our campus paper, "The Gazette." Having the opportunity to report on everything from campus crime, building projects, my fellow students and the administration was very exciting to me. So, my career plans changed and I have been pleased with my decision ever since.
As a metro reporter, how do you develop stories and contacts?
During my internships, I was a general assignment reporter and though I generated some stories, most were assigned to me. This is the first time I have had a specific beat, so coming up with ideas and developing contacts has not been without its challenges. One of the best ways to get stories is just to walk or drive around the community. If you have a particular curiosity about someone you meet or something you see, chances are it will make a good story. Also, it is important to touch base with people who work at places like city hall or the fire and police departments. Even though there may not be much going on in town that day, it is surprising the story ideas you can get from a two- to three-minute conversation. Lastly, I would say that I look to my co-workers. I don't live in the areas that I cover, but many of them do. Sometimes they know about things that are happening that I may not be aware of.
What's the most enjoyable part of your work?
The most enjoyable parts of my job are meeting new people and never knowing what to expect when I come to the office each day. You may come to the office expecting to work on one thing, but then something "breaking" happens and you are the reporter assigned to work on it. I like the spontaneity!
How important were internships in building your career?
Internships were very important in building my career. Through my internships, I gained skills that I continue to use today. My internships also solidified my desire to be a journalist.
Why is diversity in newsroom staffing and coverage important?
Because the communities we cover are made up of people of different cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities who come from all walks of life. Therefore, I think the newsroom should be reflection of that.
Do you have advice for aspiring journalists?
My main advice would be to never be afraid to ask for help. If you don't know how to go about covering a particular story, which people to contact or just want some extra guidance, there are people in the newsroom who will be more than happy to lend a helping hand. Chances are, they encountered the some of the same situations when they started, so they do not mind pointing you in the right direction.