#MeTo, #TimesUp, #UsToo, Center for Media Innovation, International Association of Business Communicators, media, media chicks network, PA Women's Press Association, Panel Discussion, Pgh Black Media Federation, Point Park University, Public Relations Society of America, radiochicksrock
Local Media Chicks Host #UsToo Panel Discussion
Continuing the Discussion of the #MeToo and #TimesUp Movement and How It Effects Local Women in the Media
Pittsburgh, PA, January 30, 2018– The Media Chicks Network will host a closed panel discussion based on the recent events effecting women in the local media following the #MeToo and #Times Up movement.
“The issues of inappropriate sexual misconduct, abuse, assault in addition to body shaming, unfair/unequal pay and gender discrimination are unacceptable and it’s time to speak out in hopes that our initiatives will help others to be thoroughly prepared for a future in the media”, LaKeisha “Ki Ki” Brown, veteran radio personality and Founder of the Media Chicks Network.
The panel discussion will host women in television, radio, print and production areas of the media and will be open to the student body of Point Park University at the Center for Media Innovation in Downtown, Pittsburgh. The time will be 5PM.
This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Media Innovation, Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, PA Women’s Press Association, International Association of Business Communicators, and Public Relations Society of America.
- Allegra Battle-City Style Blogger/Radio/News Anchor
- Pat Griffin (veteran journalist and podcaster)
- Paige Mitchell-Front Paige Me Public Relations Agency/Blogger
- Charlise Smith, Founder WAVE-WOMEN AGAINST VIOLENCE ENTERPRISES AND SERVICE
- Elizabeth Rosemeyer, Point Park University Title IX Director
- Vanessa Doss, Account Executive and Marketing Strategist for WAMO 100
**Awaiting more confirmations from local TV/Radio personalities**
Media Chicks Network is a Facebook group with over 200 members of women who serve in the media from Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, Houston and Pennsylvania. The group will host various events that range from panel discussions, self-defense classes, brunches, and fun activities to increase bonding opportunities for women in the media.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact KiKi Brown at Media Chicks Network or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
On top of all the other things I’m handling in my day to day routine (CEO of Nice 2 Media Marketing & Promotions, LLC and now afternoon personality for WAMO100, Pittsburgh), I am now music & content coordinator for an online station called Urban Media Today Radio; a product of Urban Media Today online magazine.
The station is an Urban AC music format that includes music, entertainment reporting, sports (coming soon) and finance commentary (also coming soon). It’s not as easy as one would seem it is but I really like it! I hope you will too!
You can find the online station via Live365 online or through the free app which Urban Media Today also carries on iPhone and Android.
I’ve always wanted to program a station so this is a dream come true for me. One that is extremely challenging as well as super fun!
If you’re ever in need of checking out a new UrbanAC station online, log onto www.UrbanMediaToday.com and let me know what you think by emailing me at PD@UrbanMediaToday.com!
And follow the station on Twitter & Instagram @UMTRadio!
ABC 2, Ashley James, CBS radio, Fox 45, Kelly Swoop, luncheon, media, media chicks, media chicks network, media chicks rock, news anchors, radio chicks, Traffic chicks, Vanessa Herring, WJZ TV, WMAR, Women In Radio, women in television
I’ve always been one to support my fellow females in the media. If they’re traffic anchors, radio pesonalities, producers, television, newspaper (print), or social media, we all work hard and deserve the same amount of respect and support as anyone else in this industry.
So, I figured why not show my ladies in the media (I call them Media Chicks) some love by inviting them to a private luncheon where we can share strories on how we got started, who motivates us, and so much more.
(Ki Ki and WBAL’s own Vanessa Herring)
In attendance were news anchors from WJZ and WMAR in Baltimore as well as WBAL TV, Radio One, TV One, Metro Traffic, Total Traffic & Weather, Radio One and CBS radio/TV.
Sharing lunch with these women was an amazing experience not just for me but for anyone looking to start a career in the industry. I’ve received advice from news veteran Kelly Swoop (WMAR) and Ashley James (WMAR) about what to expect when starting a career in television.
(Ki Ki and Nicki Mayo go dress shopping)
Nicki Mayo (TV One, Associated Press and President of Black Association of Black Journalists) helped me learn some pretty “bloat” appropriate poses when taking pics and wearing the right “newscaster wrap dress”.
(Ki Ki & ABC 2’s own Kelly Swoop take a selfie #MediaChicksLuncheon)
I’ve learned a lot that day and plan on doing activities like this one more often. I encourage you to do the same for others in your industry of choice. It helps get to know those you work with and learn more from them. It will help you gain a little more respect and figure out if this is where you really want to be.
Salute to all the media chicks in the entire industry! You are appreciated!
Kimia Workman entered a contest hosted by 92Q Jams (Baltimore) for a chance to host a portion of the Stone Soul festival and let me say SHE DID THAT!
Kimia Workman, Sheffield Institute graduate and former intern for 92Q, showed up at Druid Hill Park on time, without an entourage, and ready to work! She did so well, she received an internship with 92Q Afternoon jock, Konan and worked as a board operator for Radio One, Baltimore.
Her path has changed as she is now concentrating solely on becoming an actress; working in dramatic short films, stage plays and music videos.
Kimia not only acts but she dances and models! She’s THAT CHICK!
I can’t wait for that one day, I’m at a movie theater and I see my girl Kimmie on the screen featured as the main character or supporting actress in a major film! It’s going to happen! I’m praying a film director or producer is reading this because this chick is talented!
Read about Kimia and check out her work:
Name: Kimia’ Workman
Station (market/format/timeslot): formally weekend personality for 92Q Jams
How long have you been in the radio business? I studied communications/broadcast journalism at Morgan State University and went to Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts. I’ve been working for Radio One since 2010, starting out as an intern. So professional, going on 5 years.
How long were you in the television business? I’ve always wanted to do television. I first appeared on television with my internship in high school on The Educational Channel in Towson, Md. I then interned for ABC Channel 2 news while in college, had my own fitness tv show, and was an anchor on MSU TV News.
What is more enjoyable/different? I really love them both. I didn’t think I would love radio the way I do. When I was growing up, people always said they could see me on TV. I never considered a career in radio until I won the K-Swift scholarship from 92Q to study at Sheffield.
Would you say it’s hard to work with/for women in radio than it is to work with/for men? I think it is equally hard no matter who you work for. Entertainment in general is a cut throat business and you have to put your all in it and work hard at it if you want to succeed. Radio is no different. With the limited opportunities there are for men and women in radio, it’s even more paramount that you make an impact and significantly stand out no matter who you are working for or with.
What do you think is the most challenging being a talent in your career? The most challenging I would say is trying to stay focused and understanding who your real friends are, who are really looking out for you, as opposed to the so called “haters” that are looking for you to fail. And of course, again, the opportunities are limited.
Did you (or do you) have a mentor in radio? If so, who are they and what have they helped you on in reference to your career? I would say my first major mentor was Konan. I interned under him for months and really learned a lot. I always asked him so many questions about the business and he always gave me straight up answers. He has been in the business for years and still going strong so I will always look to him for advice. Others that I love watching progress and that have inspired and gave me advise, either through knowing them personally or just through social media are Free, Big Tigger, Tom Joyner, Kiki Brown, April Watts, Angie Ange, Deja Perez, Porkchop, Producer Frenchy, DJ Kei Touch, Ron Thompson, and Angela Yee just to name a few. Also music director Tayla Johnson and Radio One Baltimore Operations Manager, Al Payne have been a pivotal part in starting my on air career here at 92Q.
What was it about radio that struck your interest? I think it was the impact that you can make on people and the fun you have. I have never enjoyed a job this much ever. Radio has a way of transforming society and communicating with people in a different way. It is a very powerful medium that influences our culture, and overall, I just love entertaining.
What makes a good radio talent? I would say you definitely have to have a great personality that attracts people. Also, attentiveness to details, the ability to adapt in a fast paced environment, adapt to changes at any given moment, interacting with listeners, focus, leading your community, and investing yourself in making an impact. Being a personality is not just being on air, you have to be on all the time, just like famous celebrities. You never know who may be watching.
How do you respond to women in the media who become out of touch from those trying to reach that particular level of success? The main thing to do is to never let anyone tell you you can’t do something. If you have a strong desire to accomplish something, nothing should get in your way. There are going to be obstacles along the way, but that is just to test you to see how serious you really are. Stand strong, stay focused, and get the mentality that “you can’t” out of your head.
Have you ever been fired? How did you bounce back? I have been fired from a job before. It wasn’t my fault, but my first reaction was to stay calm and know that everything happens for a reason. I knew that either that job just wasn’t for me, or something better was going to come along.
What genre of music do you like to listen to the most and why? I love hip hop, old school/classic hip hop, rnb, pop, club, reggae, and sometimes jazz depending on what mood I’m in.
What is your LET IT GO song? (one that you would absolutely lose your mind listening to) LOL, Even though I could dance to anything, having a background in dance and choreography, I would have to say, although people may think I’m crazy, the thun thun song. It’s by Finatticz called Don’t Drop That Thun Thun Thun. It’s so wrong but the beat is hard.
You’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities, was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable celebrity interview where it went terribly wrong? Describe. It’s funny I was just starting out and got my first opportunity to interview major celebrities at the Stone Soul Picnic. One of them was Bobby V. He made some type of comment and we were recording it on camera and I had to play it off like please you probably say that to all the girls, then went right into the next question. LOL I was stumped at first, but played it like a professional.
Who was the best celebrity encounter and why? I would say Tom Joyner. He is such a nice and genuine person. You can even tell when he’s on the air. He’s very down to earth and was a pleasure to meet.
What’s the biggest misconception about you? Before people meet me, they think I am snobby or stuck up because of the way I look. I had several times people told me that when I met them, and then they would say wow you’re mad cool.
Why don’t people get about music when it comes to radio? People get mad when radio stations play the same thing over and over. I think they don’t understand that the radio industry is higher than the personalities you hear. We have to follow certain formats and play certain songs, which does in fact hinder the creativity of the craft.
Who do you most admire in the radio industry and why? I admire any and every professional out here hustling, grinding, and just doing their thing. I know what it takes from everything I’ve been through and I haven’t even reached the top of my goal sheet yet. Just to make it, doing what you love to do is admirable.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? David E Talbert said “talent gets you far, but grind and drive gets you further.” I’ve always liked that quote.
What’s the biggest misconception about women in radio? Not only in radio, but just in general, that we have it easy. That we can sleep our way to the top. Every time a successful woman makes it big, it’s “Who did she have to sleep with to get that.” It’s a huge misconception, we work just as hard, if not harder, than the men to get to where we want to be.I’m not saying that that doesn’t happen, but it is one misconception.
Where do you see urban radio in the next 10-15 years? Technology is changing, everything is changing. There’s definitely a lot more competition than there was years ago with pod casts, internet radio, Pandora, iTunes, etc. So wherever it will be, it will definitely be more digitized than ever before.
What do you think is wrong, if you do, with hip hop and R&B? I could get deep into that, lol. Really, I just think the music industry is all about money; maybe not so much talent. There are lots of artists out here with mad talent, but then there are ones that got put on because of the dollar amount. Many of the really talented artists, you may never even hear. Songs, just as television have the tendency to influence our youth, and some songs send out the wrong message. But at the end of the day, it’s entertainment and people are going to love it or hate it.
Who do you think is the most under appreciated artist out there right now? Oh soooo many artists are under appreciated. Older artists that we heard on the radio years ago, some that you hear on the radio, and some that we never even hear on the radio. It would hard just to name one.
Who’s in your iPod/radar? I like a mixture of music. Right now I have August Alsina, Teyana Taylor, TI, Drake, Jhene Aiko, Childish Gambino, School Boy Q, Warren G, Wu-Tang Clan, Yo Gotti, 2 Pac, Prince, Kid Ink, Lyrica Anderson, Aaliyah along with others.
What do you want your legacy to be? I want to be an inspiration to not only kids, but even adults who never got the chance to live their dream. There are many situations and obstacles that stop people from chasing after what they really want. I want to be known for making it, living my dream, creating positive movements, and helping/supporting others to do the same thing.
If you could give advice to someone wanting to be a radio personality, what would you say? I would say just like what I was told “Talent gets you far but grind and hustle gets you further.” You might have talent, but if you not out their grinding, hustling, and doing something toward your goal everyday, don’t except to get far. You can’t expect any handouts. You want something, you have to go out there and get it. You think going to school is going to enhance your skills, go to school, learn the business, learn the craft, make connections…networking is soooo important. Also, get advice from other professionals, watch what they are doing, and start building a brand.
Biggest regret is…. Probably not moving to New York when I had the opportunity to. But like I said, everything happens for a reason.
How can people reach out to you?
Twitter and Instagram @KimiaWorks
Email at email@example.com.
If you thought Kimia’s story was amazing, you might want to read up on these fabulous Media Chicks:
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
Cumulus Media, DeJa Vu, New York radio, Radio 103.9 New York, radio chicks, Raphael George, Roxie Digital, this radio chick rocks, video, WBAB New York, WBLI New York, WBLS, women in media, Women In Radio
I surf the web A LOT and I listen to a lot of different stations (mostly urban format) and one station in particular is Radio 103.9 (Cumulus Media) in New York City.
I found Roxie Digital on IG and admired how she would post show content about television shows such as Scandal, Love & Hip Hop, RHOA, and everything else that everyone else is talking and tweeting about.
She uses this information for her weekend show on Radio 103.9 which is one of the most important ingredients necessary to becoming an effective radio personality.
So of course, I had to reach out to her and ask if she wouldn’t mind sharing her expertise with This Radio Chick Rocks. She said “yes”!
Whenever you’re in New York or surfin’ the web (or in your app store), make sure you look up Radio 103.9, New York’s best mix R&B!
How long have you been in the radio business?
I have been in the radio business for 11 years!
Have you ever been in any other markets? If so, where and for what station?
What is more enjoyable/different?
All of my radio experiences have been enjoyable and different, but more importantly a learning experience that has helped me grow as a radio professional
What was it about radio that struck your interest?
What I love about radio is its intimacy and the influence you can have from the use of your voice.
Would you say it’s hard to work with/for women in radio than it is to work with/for men?
Radio is a hustle 24/7 for both men and women. Nothing is easy, but I would have to say as a woman, I have had some very unique experiences.
What do you think is the most challenging being a talent in your career?
The most challenging aspect of being a talent in my radio career is the hustle because everyday we see new changes and we are in the business of “keeping up with what’s new” so we have to do our jobs as well as be in the know of whats going on locally and globally and with the climate of our current culture—it can be a challenging task at times.
Did you (or do you) have a mentor in radio? If so, who are they and what have they helped you on in reference to your career?
Yes I do have a mentor in radio. My mentor is Deja Vu of 107.5 WBLS-FM in New York and she has helped me put situations in terms of my radio career into perspective especially during times that I felt little confidence. She is very motivational and has been the voice I need to believe that I am built for radio!
What do you think about most female personalities “losing touch” with those who aspire to be where they are? Have you ever experienced this?
I have not personally experienced fellow female personalities “losing touch” with those aspiring to be where they are, but I have seen it and I feel like that is a confidence issue. At the end of the day, it is about passing the torch. We are looked up to, the standard, and the teachers who give our “students the tools and knowledge” to make it to graduation.
(Roxie w/ Radio 103.9 APD, Raphael George)
How important is it for a female in your industry to reach out to other females to network, bond, learn, teach, etc?
To me, it is in my core to network and give back to others—-especially other females in the radio industry. It is important because there is someone to relate to, someone to learn from; a source to ask the questions no one else may be able to understand. Due to the nature of our business, support is essential or you get lost in the hype!
What makes a good radio talent?
A good talent does more than get on the mic and plays your favorite song. She gets in her listener’s head, she’s interested in likes and dislikes, she is involved in the community, she is as much a part of your life as you are hers ….she is just like you!
Is being an announcer where you want to retire? Do you want to lead in your industry at some point?
By the time I retire, I would love to provide opportunities to others in the radio industry by owning my own radio stations in both the US and the Caribbean. I want to cultivate careers and be the catalyst for a new breed of media/radio personalities across the country. I will do this through mentorship and building stations that will act as more of a learning institution than studios with mics!
Who are most difficult to work for: male/female managers?
In my opinion, male managers are more difficult to work for at times because of ego.
How challenging is it to come up with the topics of your show?
There is little to no challenge in coming up with topics for my show because there is always something going on in the world, locally, or personally…I draw from everything in life to engage my audience
What inspires you everyday in reference to your show topics?
My inspirations in reference to my show topics are music, the youth, what’s going on in our communities and love.
How do you respond to women in the media who become out of touch from those trying to reach that particular level of success?
I am an advocate for creating your own lane in life. We are all different in terms of how we reach our own success. My response to women in media who become “out of touch” is to allow yourself to step “outside the box” once in a while in addition to staying true to yourself.
There are many women in internet radio who consider themselves “true to the game”. Is there a such thing? Terrestrial radio verses internet radio.
Again, as previously stated in my last response to the last question, we are all in our own lanes and come with our own level of confidence. We are all working towards the same goal at the end of the day and that is reaching the masses through our message and using radio to get there. If the particular place you are in life is “true” to you then so be it—as long as you are doing the game justice.
Is there pressure to “look” a certain way in radio? (to be considered for hosting, television, other opportunities)
I do believe there is pressure to “look” a certain way, although it is radio, when it comes to hosting and TV opportunities, we all know the deal….the prettier you are, the longer hair you have, the skinnier you can be is always an advantage, however, thankfully opportunities are opening for women who can express themselves authentically with curves, short or natural hair that are just as beautiful and relatable —-I think society is moving is so many different directions that the pressure is dissipating
Have you ever been fired?
No, I have never been fired.
How did you bounce back?
Although I have never been fired, I am a true hustler and I can bounce back from anything with my unique skill sets
What genre of music do you like to listen to the most and why?
I listen to R&B and Caribbean (Soca/Zouk) music the most partly because I grew up on this music in my household and have worked primarily in Urban Contemporary/Adult AC formats. However, I do enjoy a mix of genres from Top 40 to Jazz.
What is your TURN UP song?
My current TURN UP song is …… “B*tch Better Have My Money” by Rihanna …lol
You’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities, was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable celebrity interview where it went terribly wrong? Describe.
I once had an interview with Swizz Beatz that was just uncomfortable because he just wasn’t into the interview. It was very early in the morning and he kept giving me one word answers and the interview was one way. I want to blame it on his early morning flight and fatigue and I definitely want a do-over ..lol
Who was the best celebrity encounter and why?
I always say the best celebrity I encountered was COMMON…he is so down to earth, personable, and funny!
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
The biggest misconception about me is that People think I NEVER sleep …totally NOT true …I get at least 4 to 5 hours a day!
Why don’t people get about music when it comes to radio?
I think people don’t get that we don’t just play anything on the radio …I can’t count the number of music I get submitted to me and people just expect me to play it right there on the spot! There is a process to everything in life folks! People’s actions as of late when it comes to music on the radio is definitely a sign of the times!
Who do you most admire in the radio industry and why?
The person I most admire in the radio industry is no longer in the industry but has definitely made her mark …it is Wendy Williams! I’ve always admired her for her bold approach on the radio, drawing people in with her stories (She is a great storyteller) and she is truly an entertainer. Wendy is definitely one of the best to do it—-Queen of All Media!
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The best advice I ever received was from both my high school Social Studies teacher and former President of Def Jam and record exec Kevin Liles and they said “You will always be learning, it is okay to be an intern wherever you go because you are a student of life!” In fact, Kevin Liles even referred to himself as an intern at his present position in life and that he learns something new everyday! That advice alone helped me to appreciate my learning process in the industry and my journey.
What’s the biggest misconception about women in radio?
I don’t think there are many misconceptions particularly about women in radio as there are about women in media in general. I think women who are actively involved in multi-media platforms have the misconceptions that they are workaholics and do not have much of a social life. Part of this is true, but it is doable—you always make time for people and things you want in your life. I am living proof of all this!
Where do you see urban radio in the next 10-15 years?
Everything evolves ….Urban radio will be revamped and listened to differently! Artists are challenging themselves musically. Currently, we are in an age of social media and we are all expressing ourselves in an honest and authentic way! I am excited for urban radio in the next 10 to 15 years and being a part of the change!
What do you think is wrong, if you do, with hip hop and R&B?
Hip Hop is too generic and has no real message these days! I remember when people used to watch music videos or wait for shows like Music Box to see the latest video and artist interviews ….today that is non-existent! We are not as excited about the visual or lyrical part of the music industry anymore! It is sad when a culture is disrupted in this way, the music industry needs healing.
Who do you think is the most under-appreciated artist out there right now?
Who’s in your iPod/radar?
As far as who is on my IPod/radar …I am feeling Mali Music, Sam Smith, Drake, Jidenna, Jazmine Sullivan, Kendrick Lamar, and K. Michelle just to name a few
What do you want your legacy to be?
I always say I want my legacy to be that I created opportunities for others to grow, live their dreams, and fulfill their goals whether it be through creating jobs, mentorship or teaching others what I’ve learned through my personal and professional life! I want to be known for working towards the advancement of my community and moving the culture forward!
If you could give advice to someone wanting to be a radio personality, what would you say?
If I were to give advice to someone wanting to be a radio personality today, I would say take everything you learn in life as a stepping stone to helping you get closer to sitting in front of that mic! You will be surprised at how much your life experiences will contribute to your professional life. Also, hone in on your people skills and focus on skills you may not think matter but are very important..like reading, listening, communicating clearly with others, research, and socializing/networking at events. Its the little things that takes you big places!
Biggest regret is….
Ideally I can say “nothing” because everything in life happens for a reason….I truly believe that, but I do have to say I regret not pursuing a career in teaching. Initially I started out at St. John’s University Queens Campus as a Spanish major with intentions of teaching high school students, but that changed once 9/11 happened my freshman year and I made the decision to follow my inner dreams. September 11th was a turning point in my life and I am thankful of my decision to follow my calling in life. Although, I did not pursue teaching, God graced me with an even bigger blessing of allowing me to work with kids through my non-profit campaign, the No Disrespect Campaign! Again…everything happens for a reason!
How can people reach out to you?
Checkout these stories of some talented radio chicks around the US:
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @RadioChickBrown
FOLLOW ME ON IG @JustKiKiBrown
FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
News anchor, Vanessa Herring, reached out to me via twitter with a surprising message that said something like “good to see you again” or something like that.
It made me think “again?” I couldn’t remember where I knew her from. Sad thing is my memory is the ABSOLUTE WORST and it never dawned on me that Vanessa knew me from my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.
I embraced her sentiment, naturally but curiosity set in and I was instantly intrigued.
An avid WBAL-TV watcher myself, I was excited to see my new Twitter buddy on the evening news, doing a story on something that happened here in Baltimore.
It was cold out. I tweeted her. She tweeted me back. A few emoji’s and “lol’s” later, we had a sisterhood.
So obviously, I asked her for an interview. Why not? I mean, she’s from my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA! Duh!!!
If you’re ever up late night, watching the news (preferably on WBAL-TV), you’ll find Vanessa delivering the hard stories. Check her out!
Here is Vanessa’s story:
What is your occupation?
I’m a freelance reporter in Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C.
How did you get started in your career?
I got started more than a decade ago, and it’s so hard to believe it has been that long! I went to an audition to co-host the premiere season of the McDonald’s Steelers KidZONE, and I got the gig! I survived two rounds of cuts, and went on to host the show for 4 amazing years. I even got to be one of the first reporters to interview Ben Roethlisberger after his name was called at the 2004 NFL Draft in New York City.
What do you like/love most about your career?
I love getting to meet new people and try new things! The coolest part of this job is having a front row seat at events I may never have been invited to, or had an interest in going to. It’s a privilege to be able to share stories. I also like that every day is different, especially when it’s a tough, or bad day. The slate is wiped clean, and you get to start fresh all over again.
Live in the studio at WUSA 9.
What is it about this industry that struck your interest?
The ability to learn something new every day, connect with people, and share information.
What are the hardest stories to report?
Any tragedy—deadly fires, murders, accidents. Knocking on someone’s door after they’ve lost a loved one is the hardest part of this job.
Is there division in the news/media industry?
I don’t think so many of the reporters and anchors get along even though we compete with each other. At the end of the day it’s about serving the viewers and making sure they have the information they need.
Are your male co-anchors supportive?
Yes! I don’t work very closely with all the anchors, though. The photographer staffs at many news stations are dominated by men, and reporters and photographers work very closely together. All of them have been supportive, especially when you’re new in town. Photographers usually know the ins and outs of the city, major players, and the good places to eat when you’re stuck on a live shot J
Are other African American anchors supportive?
I have found other African American anchors and reporters are pretty supportive. In my first market I was one of two African American people in the entire building! At my second job there was a handful of African American reporters and anchors. I connected with many of them, and we were able to support each other—even if it was just a smile, and hello on a hectic day.
In action at the Hearst Television D.C. Bureau.
Who is your mentor?
I have a few mentors that I check in with from time to time. They are producers, reporters, and anchors and they’re all able to offer great advice! I also have a couple young reporters I mentor. I once was told, as you climb the career ladder, don’t forget to reach back and help someone. I try to pass along the good advice, and things I wish I knew when I was just starting out!
What was the best career advice you ever received?
Get your foot in the door, and once it’s there, force the rest of your body in!
There are so many reporters and anchors I admire and respect! I adore Robin Meade, Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, and Soledad O’Brien. I also admire many of the journalists I work side by side with in Baltimore and D.C.
We are our worst critics. What do you NOT like most about what you do?
There’s always something! I’ll watch my story the next day and think, “I should have used a different sound bite,” or, “I should have used a more descriptive word,” or, “I said that word funny.” I try not to beat myself up too much, but I’ve found being honest with yourself about the quality of your work will help you improve.
Are you the type that must do more than one take?
I hate doing more than one take! I always feel like the first take is the most natural.
When you’re on location, what don’t the viewers see?
Oh my gosh, there’s so much that you don’t see! Sometimes there’s a pretty elaborate lighting situation going on. Photographers are great at making it look like we look that awesome all the time, but they really make the magic happen! If it’s breaking news I may be on the phone with a producer, or source, right before I go on air. I have literally hung up the phone and started reporting right after. There’s the hour lull between shows, where you just kind of hang out in the truck with your photographer—and if you’re working on a developing story that time gives you the opportunity to make changes or gather new information.
The biggest lesson you’ve learned as an anchor is? (Ex: not cussing when you’re mic’d up)
Definitely don’t say anything you don’t want heard with a microphone on—ever!! Fortunately, I haven’t made that mistake. Always show up to work ready for air because the day you come in with your hair looking a mess and no make up on will be the day you’re sent out immediately! Always double check pronunciations of new places—viewers do not like when you mess up the name of their town! Be willing to take criticism from your bosses, mentors, and even viewers. I’ve gotten nasty comments from viewers, and it’s easy to get upset and lash back. I usually thank them for even taking the time to watch and send me their thoughts, and use the constructive part of their complaint to improve my performance.
Can anyone be a news anchor? What should you possess in order to do this type of work?
Yes! You’ve got to have thick skin, curiosity, and be able to work well under tight deadlines.
What’s the biggest misconception about what you do and how do you respond to it?
That it’s “easy.” It’s certainly not manual labor, but it’s not easy. For example, I’ve had days where I was reporting live at noon, 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m., and in between all that I had to find time to interview people, write a story, lay down an audio track, and engage and share information with viewers on social media. That makes for a very busy day! I also hate when people ask if someone else writes my story for me… NO!!!
What are some things we don’t know about you? (name 3 things)
I love history! I had a history minor in college, and I enjoy learning about historical figures, places and events. I am a makeup JUNKIE! I have so many products it’s sort of embarrassing! If I wasn’t a reporter, I’d probably be a makeup artist. I really enjoy arts and crafts and DIY projects and I’m always trying to find little things to create.
How do you unwind?
Relaxing at home with my boyfriend. We’ll watch a movie on Netflix, make dinner, or he’ll make cocktails (he’s like a bartender!). I also like to grab some Starbucks (I’m obsessed!) and go shopping.
The happiest or most proud moment of your careers was…..
Any time I can help someone. I’ve done a few stories that have inspired people to get behind a cause, or shown people just how much support they have in the community. Those are the best stories, and when I feel like I’m really able to make a difference through my work.
The most embarrassing moment/interview you had was…..
So one time when I was working in Erie, Pa I was anchoring the noon show, and the prompter switched modes. It went from showing words to showing video. So, when we got into a soundbite I thought I had time to fix it. The button was under the desk, and just as I crawled under to press it…the director came back to me! I had to crawl out from under the desk AND explain why I was under there! Talk about embarrassing!!
If you weren’t a news anchor, what would you be doing?
I’d probably have a creative career! I’d love to be a makeup artist or interior designer.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you imagined.” I believe that you can’t be afraid to go after what you want. You’re never going to accomplish what you’ve dreamed of if you’re afraid to take the first step!
How can people reach out to you?
my blog: www.vanessaherring.wordpress.com
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