“Behind-the-Broadcast: Secrets to Making it in the Industry”

Written By: 
Amanda Morris
December 24, 2015


Having a career in broadcasting is not easy, but can definitely be rewarding, according to the women on the “Television & Radio Broadcasting” panel at NYWICI’s 2015 annual Student Career Conference. Many of the panelists described how they climbed to the top, such as Stephanie Makowski, associate producer of The Dr. Oz Show, who had her very first internship at Dr. Oz. Interestingly enough, Stephanie  was originally a PR intern, but used to sneak down to the studio during her free time because she found the environment exciting. It may have been an indirect path to her goals, but Stephanie didn’t let this stop her, and advised others to do the same: “You’re not going to get your dream job at first — but just go for it.”



Even once you get the dream job, panelist Carol Wilkinson, reporter and a substitute news anchor for News 12 Networks, said that you still have to be willing to work hard. Carol has been in the business for 25 years and has persevered through numerous ups and downs in her career. “It’s not as glamourous as you think,” she said, referencing the times such as when she had to wade knee-deep in the mud to pursue a news story or when she’s faced rejection from employers. “It’s a wonderful career if you have the thick skin to stay in it.”



Working hard and saying “yes” is what’s going to make you a key asset to companies. Though you may land a great internship or job through networking and connections, you won’t be destined to stay very long if you’re not skilled or willing to put in the work. Stephanie explained, “It starts off as who you know and then turns into what you know. It’s what you know that keeps you there.”



There were a lot of laughs in the audience as the panelists talked about behaviors that made them dislike their interns. Jayde Donovan, morning co-host of Todd and Jayde in the Morning on WPLJ-FM 95.5 disliked interns who arrive into the workplace with an attitude of entitlement, especially those who were reluctant to complete smaller tasks such as getting her coffee. Saying “yes” can make people more likely to hire you for the long term. Jayde described how she always fetched coffee with a smile during her first internship, and explained that coffee can be important to your boss. “Sometimes that coffee is all I need to do my job,” she said. “This five dollars in heaven just might make me more articulate.”



Moderator Katie Corrado, an anchor and reporter for Fox 61, chimed in on this topic and added that you should take every opportunity available to you. Many young journalists refuse job offers in more remote locations, but Katie has never has. “It never occurred to me to say no,” she said. “If you really want this job, then you’ll go to Utah or the middle of nowhere.”



Carol agreed and added that if students are given an opportunity they should “grab it, do not look back, do not think twice.”



Advice on how to improve your broadcasting skills was given as well. One of the most important skills that panelists suggested honing was the ability to master being a story-teller. Beyond that, Jayde suggested that in order to develop a personality on air you should smile and act natural. “I just get past all of the stuff and the muck and be myself,” she said. “You can’t get caught up in the mindset of ‘I have to be the best, most well-spoken person in the world.” And if you’re ever asked to complete a task but don’t have the skills or knowledge to complete it, google it rather than being defeated. “It’s okay to ask for help, but never say you can’t do it.”



This attitude can enable you to acquire new knowledge over time. According to Jayde, there’s always room to improve. “My mom told me wherever you find yourself, learn everything you can. You don’t know it all, I still don’t know it all! It’s about constantly learning and being hungry.”



At the end of the panel there was a Q&A session. For some students, the sustainability and availability of journalism and broadcasting jobs was a concern. They asked whether or not it was realistic to pursue a career in this field after being told that the broadcast journalism industry was declining. Stephanie addressed this by asserting that the dream of working in broadcast was still very attainable. “Don’t let anyone tell you that journalism is dying and that you won’t get a job, because you will, I’m proof of it.”

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