Meredith students were able to learn about broadcast journalism careers from a team of WTVD (ABC-11) professionals as part of COM Week 2019.
The session, featuring anchor Amber Rupinta, reporter Gloria Rodriguez, news photographer Bob Gaughran, digital producer Emily Padilla, and Raleigh newsroom manager Patsy O’Donnell, was organized by Associate Professor of Mass Communication Doug Spero.
“Journalism can spark change, it can bring attention to issues, affect change in your community, and the good stories inspire you, which I love,” Rupinta said. “If you like a fast pace and learning something new every day, reporting is a good path for you.”
Each of the WTVD staff members talked about a typical day in their job and they shared a video demonstrating the different roles in the newsroom.
Students were encouraged to pursue internships and to make the most of these opportunities by speaking up, being energetic, and seeking mentors.
“We all started somewhere and we all had to learn [broadcast journalism skills] including how to be on camera, how to shoot, how to edit,” said Gaughran. “An internship is where you figure out what role is best for you.”
Another career-focused COM Week activity was a tour of Curtis Media Group, which owns 62 AM and FM radio signals across the state of North Carolina. The headquarters is located in Raleigh.
The company’s Senior Vice President David Stuckey presented a brief overview of the radio industry and Curtis Media. The students then were able to tour several Curtis Media stations, including 94.7 WQDR, 96.1 WBBB, WPTF-680, Pulse-FM 102.5, and La Ley 101.1. A highlight for the students was being able to go on the air on Pulse-FM.
Spero emphasizes career preparation in his classes and he regularly invites communication professionals to speak to his students.
“Years ago, I decided to bring as many guest speakers to campus as possible,” Spero said. “I also decided to send as many students off campus to observe broadcast operations and build the best internships. We have carefully built relationships with excellent internship partners over the years.”
The purpose of these opportunities is to help students explore possible careers, including some they may not have known about previously.
“Sessions like this one are also the first step to the internship process. Then, the internship process is the next step to the first job,” Spero said. “I have always said that my job isn’t over until I get my students their first jobs. I also try to get them into part-time jobs, while at Meredith, so they can get a leg up on some experience because of the competitiveness of the media industry.”
COM Week also included a workshop with Emmy-award winning alumna Brenda Hughes, ’70, a documentary filmmaker.