National League: Students Meet Network News Leaders in NYC
Students from the Advanced Producing class, accompanied by JMC professor Gary Hanson and practitioner-in-residence John Butte, spent four days last week in New York City, meeting with a host of national producers, anchors and correspondents. Their goal was to learn production techniques and styles at the national network level.
Students had the chance to visit ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and MSNBC and meet with Diane Sawyer, anchor of ABC World News; Byron Pitts, chief national correspondent for CBS Evening News and contributor to 60 Minutes and Bill Hemmer, co-host of America’s Newsroom on Fox.
For students, the experience was as motivational as it was informative.
“This trip was important for us especially as graduating seniors because it showed us the real world isn’t as scary as we think it is. We went to national news corporations and saw the huge projects they are working on, and we left more optimistic about our futures and fired up about the profession as a whole and the job opportunities that really are there,” said senior broadcast journalism major Justin Rockhold.
“The biggest thing for me was that it showed me that I can make it in a big city like New York. A lot of people think you have to go to Northwestern [University] or Columbia [University] to work in a big city. You not only don’t have to do that, but you can start your career in a big city. It was a huge confidence boost to see that we can do that,” said broadcast journalism graduate student Jasen Sokol. “One of the coolest things was meeting with [CBS correspondent and 60 Minutes contributor] Byron Pitts. “We sat in the 60 Minutes screening room, one of the most nerve-wracking places for a journalist to be, because it’s where the top brass of CBS reviews each story and rips it about to see if it is 60 Minutes quality. Byron asked us what we want to do with our careers, and he told us that every dream has an address – you want to have specific career goals. It was almost like he was screening our careers, reviewing our career goals. He really got me thinking.”
Senior broadcast journalism major Jessica Schmidt was also motivated by meeting Pitts. “The highlight for me was going to 60 Minutes. Byron Pitts spoke about dreams and goals. It was really inspiring to talk to someone who dreamed his whole life of working for 60 Minutes and now he is there. He told about us about his journey and the obstacles and challenges he overcame to get there. That was the extra push I needed before graduation. It convinced me I could do this and I really want this career. He sparked my passion and interest.”
“Overall, it was a great experience. Not only did we make great contacts, but we also got to see the ins and outs of national media outlets. It put into perspective how different national news is from local news,” said senior broadcast journalism major Monique Zappa. “Sometimes people in the broadcast field can be negative, but being there and talking to national broadcasters, I came away convinced that I can do this and I will be successful.”