September 16, 2010

How did you get started?

There is always one question that comes up as I travel around the country. How did you get started doing what you do? Well, I wish I could say it was skill but it really was more about persistence and luck.

I really had no idea what I wanted to do for a job as I hovered at the top of the middle of my high school class. My mom had suggested something in the communications field. I remember her saying “you like to talk to people, you would be good at it.” Little did she know how little we actually communicate in the communications field. Well, following her suggestion, I attended Herkimer County Community College (HCCC now just HCC) in Herkimer, NY. My major was Radio-TV Broadcasting.

Considering the nearest TV station was about an hour and a half from my home town in another country (Canada), I had never even stepped foot in real television studio. I sure have watched enough of my share of TV though, don’t even try and beat me at Brady Bunch or Three’s Company trivia.

My first day at HCCC was in a class called Basic Studio Technique, I ran a studio camera. My first day. It was baptism by fire and we were encouraged to make mistakes and try and learn. We were all pretty much equally fish out of water but with that attitude to challenge yourself and learn as you go, we grew up really fast.

During our third semester at HCCC, we had an option of taking a resume class or do a three week internship. I was accepted to do an internship at the NBC affiliate in Elmira,NY at WETM-TV during our winter break. I really tried everything I could get my hands on while I was there (camera, audio, some time in front of the camera for a demo tape) but more importantly, I got to know the people and they got to know me. I made sure to be on time and where they needed me to be. The upside to interning at a smaller station is the opportunity to do everything and not get lost in the numbers game. You were THE intern.

I did my time at WETM and learned so much. Well, when I graduated from HCCC with my Associate’s Degree in Radio-TV Broadcasting, I decided I would call my old news director every Tuesday morning at 10AM and look for a job. Every Tuesday morning at 10:01AM I would hang up the phone with no luck. Two months later, he called me with a job opportunity to become a news photographer and editor. I know it may not sound glamorous but it put me on the path that I am on today. And that is how I got started doing what I do.

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  • Thanks Boomer. This was a really well-considered, precise and detailed response to ‘how you got started’. The ‘college’ to ‘first job’ scenario is usually the most important and interesting detail, the rest logically follows! Appreciated.

  • Thanks Sue..I appreciate it!

  • Great perseverance and work ethic that I wish more teenager/young adults would adopt.


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