DETROIT – I had a good time at work today. I mean, I’m lucky, I can say that often. The Final Four in Minneapolis was pretty cool; walking with Nate Lashley at the Rocket Mortgage Classic was fantastic. Oh! I really liked the Indy 500 and the Dual in Detroit.
I could go on and on. But, I digress…
Today was a good day at work because I was able watch our sports interns read at the desk for the first time. I sat at the desk with them and tossed (TV term) to them and off they went with their sports casts. Steve Garagiola watched from the control room and gave them pointers. Sam Arslanian came to us from USC. He’s a junior. Natalie Kerwin is a senior at MSU. Jorge Reyna just graduated from Detroit Cristo Rey. We had a full house today in the studio just after our Local 4 News at six ended.
All three quickly found out, it’s harder than it looks. For those who say it’s just reading, well, you are wrong. Before the sportscast, there is research and writing and editing. Then, there’s the ‘performance’ on-air of reading over video and tossing to soundbites, or SOTs (sound on tape, TV term) The anchor has to make it interesting, they have to make people care. Both Steve and I gave them our thoughts and they got to run through it twice. Now they have a great reel (TV term) for after they graduate to go out and get a broadcasting job.
It got me to thinking about how I got my start. It was 2007, I just graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. I had reel, on tape. Like, an actual tape. On that reel, I had stories that I shot, wrote and edited all by myself. I had anchoring from my time working on the Northwestern News Network. I also had the stories I did in Washington, D.C. as a correspondent for a small TV station.
I thought I was ready for the BIG TIME. Everyone thinks that when they start out.
I eventually got a job in Lansing. At the time, I think it was market 111? I quickly found out: 1) I was NOT ready for the big time, 2) This was a great place to learn and grow. There was this fantastic EP (executive producer, TV term) named Jeff Proctor who taught me a lot, most notably, the importance of details in a story, of getting it right. He also yelled at me a few times, it was scary, but it made me better.
I started out as a general assignment reporter. Eventually, I got the chance to fill-in on the sports desk. Those early sportscasts were a bit rough. I was nervous, I wasn’t projecting well. I certainly wasn’t smiling. I wasn’t talking like a normal person. I was talking like I thought ESPN anchors talked. (Think, boom goes the dynamite) Eventually, I got more and more comfortable. It comes with time. I found out all I need to do is tell a story, tell the viewers what happened that day. I love sports, so that part was easy. I would move on to a sports job in Flint at WEYI, and then eventually to a sports anchor/reporter position here at WDIV.
When the lights go up and it’s time for my sportscasts now, I don’t really get nervous. I think about all the cool stuff I get to go to and get to experience and I talk about it for a living. It’s fun. Hopefully that comes across on TV. Nothing replaces real-life experiences, but hopefully I helped out our interns in some way today and they had a great experience on the desk. Hopefully they go out and get a job in the biz (TV term) and have as much fun and learned as much as I have in the past 11 years.