My TV Life: The backstory
Thursday, December 5, 2019
I’ve been chatting on instagram lately about my former life as a TV reporter and anchor. I think it’s been circling around me more as of late because I’m really feeling inspired to get others to move towards their own personal growth, and that time of my life made me fully realize how confidence and mindset can completely power you forward. My time as a young reporter in a cut-throat market proved that to me. So, for all those wondering, here’s the backstory!
I never intended to be a television news reporter, and yet somehow I ended up there. I like to think it was the Universe pushing me towards purpose, and, in the end, my 10+ years in local news in NYC were some of my best times, and taught me so much. Sure the hours were brutal (2am wake up anyone?), but I had so many great opportunities to learn, and met so many great people along the way. I also came to realize that I really love being on-camera, and thrive in television and media work.
I didn't major in journalism or even know what I wanted to do with my English degree once I graduated college. Week to week I tossed out ideas to my (unimpressed) mother about my future career, and then set off to my bartending and waitress job to pay the bills. One day I mentioned to her that I should maybe become a reporter, and as luck would have it that very same day a local reporter walked into the restaurant I was working in and asked to interview patrons. I ended up interviewing her on her profession and how she got into it, and long story short ended up with a (post college) internship at her station. I learned the ins and outs of news, how to edit (tape to tape then!), and, by the end, put together a very rough demo reel. I sent it out to only 2 stations, and then decided to move back to NYC and continue what seemed to be my professional bartending career.
Months later while living in the big city, I got a call from News12 offering me a voice over reporter roll for a new 24 hour traffic station they were debuting. It was less than glamours, and despite being told I could be working weekends and overnights, I jumped on it, open to the possibility. It ended up being a fantastic and fun experience and one that launched my career. I went from a voice-over to on-camera traffic reporter, doing live hits every 10 minutes, mastering the green screen and learning every road in the tri-state area in the process.
I used that traffic role as my "shortcut" (pun intended!) into becoming a reporter in the coveted number 1 market of New York City. I was confident, tenacious, open minded and naively optimistic starting out, and these played a big part in my my success. I quickly landed a role as a traffic anchor at WCBS. As part of the CBS2 Crew, I shared morning antics with Dave Price (still a dear friend to this day), and learned the value of experience and the comfort it brings (10 hits an hour will do that!), plus the power of letting personality shine through, and how authenticy truly attracts.
After years at CBS, I moved over to Fox5's Good Day New York (WNYW). When interviewing for the job and being asked what I wanted to do, I quickly replied features or entertainment, and was asked if I would also do weather. I had never done weather before but had mastered the chroma key (green screen) doing traffic, and decided "why not?" My willingness got me hired, and I then floated between Fox5 News and their sister station My9. At both I learned the power of being a quick learner and nimble (live TV has you ready for anything), and also how to push past fear and doubt. Whether literal fear- like reporting in rising flood waters or flying through the air on the trapeze at the circus (truth is, I loved the thrill), or simply pushing past the doubts of others and myself, and proving my ability all along the way. My days in local news in a "cut-throat" market definitley made me realize the power of mindset, and how confidence is crucial. I also saw how being open to the experience is everything, and how hard work and perserverence can take you far.
Eventually, the grueling schedule of morning shows took it's toll, and in search of sleep I took a break from local news. I quickly realized I am not a no-work kinda girl, and shortly into my sabbitical started an online magazine called HealthyStyle NY. It combined my love of media and my passion for health and wellness, and as soon as I decided to do it, so many helpful people showed up in my path. That again furthered my belief that when we step foward into our purpose, the powers that be will hold doors open for us, and we will be guided along the way.
HealthyStyleNY.com was another great adventure and learning experience. I served as Editor In Chief as well as the brand's spokesperson for the next 5 years, and grew the hyper local magazine into a premiere resource. During that time, I delved deep into brand building, content creation, management, and a whole slew of other responsibilities. For the first time I also found myself on the other side of PR and press relations. Now I was pitching myself and my brand for coverage, and it suddenly become very clear to me how valuable my TV saavy and PR knowledge was. I knew what made great TV and what producers were looking for. I could even create the perfect demo segment for them, and get up there and run it through on live TV. I started appearing as a lifestyle and wellness expert on various networks, and even became a regular contributer on national news outlets on the topic of building business and entrepreneurship.
My role at HealthyStyle also lead me into speaking, media consulting and helping other entrepreneurs and companies develop their brands, and clarify their messenge and PR plans. As Editor-in Chief I was constantaly being pitched, and had the pleasure of being introduced to so many talented entrepreneurs and experts, who I quickly realized needed help needed help in the media arena. They were pitching me wrong or didn't have their own messaging down, and I saw oppotunities for their brand that they couldn't see. It was in that, that my consulting and media training business was born. I didn't plan to do it, but my media brain, couldn't help but see how they could reposition or re-message to grab valuable opportunities. And, I really loved that once coverage was obtained, I could help those with no on-camera experience get super comfortable and really shine when the time came.
In all, my TV & online media days taught me that I really love on camera work, and have a keen sense of what works and what doesn't in the media world. I also realized that I love connecting with great people. Whether interviewing on the scene as a reporter or coaching someone else on sound bites and press releases, I found those connections points so valuable. The knowledge and experience I had in television gave me a really unique and strong set of skills. Plus, my love of communications and relationship building skills also served me very well when moving into my next exciting chapter. Read more about that here.