Students from Hunter’s Online Journalism class got a window into the inner workings of CBS Interactive on Oct. 16, along with insightful career and networking advice, thanks to an afternoon of meetings with senior executives and news producers.
As part of the visit, the 13 students and their professor, Adam Glenn, took a whirlwind tour of studio operations at the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street in Manhattan.
And they received an impromptu visit from Emmy-award winning Hunter graduate Chelsea Narvaez, a production assistant at 48 Hours, who spoke to students about her internships and her work at the news magazine.
New technology, new job opportunities
Darius Walker, executive producer at CBS News Digital, spent much of the afternoon with the students, detailing the network’s 24/7 news streaming operation, which markets CBS News programing to a younger audience, as well as cord-cutting and bilingual TV viewers.
With the future job-seekers in mind, Jon McGlinchy, a senior producer for special projects, noted that such streaming services have led to the emergence of a new industry job title that merges journalism and computer operations— “digital line producer.”
In fact, the network’s very first digital line producer, Anne Hsu, was on hand to talk to students and describe the evolution of the position since she joined the team five years ago.
Hsu, now a senior producer who leads the CBS Interactive evening news team, detailed how she started as a local TV reporter in the West and Pacific Northwest, and later joined CBS News as a broadcast producer on weekend news before joining CBS Interactive, where she helped pioneer the digital line producer position.
‘Be curious, dig deeper’
Asked about useful skills students should develop as they enter the job market, Hsu, McGlinchy and Walker all emphasized that writing that matters most.
“Writing helps you day to day put good product on TV,” Hsu said, “It also forces you to distill complex stories with analytical thinking.”
Walker added: “If you’re a good writer, your chances of growth are larger. If you can write and express yourself, you can take on bigger challenges and rise up in the ranks.”
‘If you’re a creative, curious person who can write well, your chance of success is good.’— Darius Walker, executive producer at CBS News Digital
Creativity is also central. “Be curious, dig deeper, find the angle no one can present,” Walker said. “If you’re a creative, curious person who can write well, your chance of success is good.”
Melissa Maguire, a planning producer with responsibilities for medium term news planning, advised prospective interns to “keep your mind really open when interning. Mine every experience. Be open to many possibilities.”
Hsu agreed: “Early on in your career, try everything. Being a team player is a key trait.”
Added Racquel Foster, manager of streaming and video operations: “Attitude is key!”
Maguire later urged students to work the connections they gain as interns, and to keep up relationships with professionals, even if their contacts don’t always have the time to reply to emails or other contacts.
Students also heard from from Anna Sugg, who described her work as a network booking producer based in Washington, D.C., and from Alisa Walter, who outlined the CBS internship program, which posts nearly five dozen internships in six locations each summer, and frequently hires interns into staff positions.
Tour of studios, control rooms
The tour of CBS operations, led by production managers Jim Donovan and Andy Pezzica, brought students through WCBS and WLNY news studio, where they heard a live segment produced by WCBS-TV anchor Maurice Dubois.
‘Have a nose for stories. Be interested in news. Be interested in everything!’— WCBS-TV anchor Maurice Dubois
Dubois offered some impromptu advice: “Have a nose for stories. Be interested in news. Be interested in everything!”
The class also were walked through the studio used in the production of John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight,” as well as “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” late-night talk show Desus & Mero and Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”
The tour ended in CBS Sports studios that host the network’s football and college basketball coverage.