Nearly 22 years ago, I stepped into a TV newsroom for the first time. It was June 1996 and I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just been hired as a broadcast assistant at KMOV in St. Louis. That’s a fancy term for teleprompter operator. I wanted to be a news reporter when I grew up and I viewed this opportunity as a foot in the door, even though the gig was just 13 weeks in length.
Aside from meeting the Executive Producer who hired me, one of the first people I met that afternoon was Margie Ellisor. She was a reporter at the time and hustling to head off to a story. But she took a moment to introduce herself to me before leaving to cover her story.
As I mentioned, I wanted to be a reporter and the way the TV industry works, I knew I wasn’t going to reach that goal scrolling the prompter 60 minutes a night for the men and women at the anchor desk. After talking with some of the on-air talents, some agreed to let me come out on stories with them and job shadow on my time off from work. Margie was one of the biggest advocates for this to happen, introducing me to other reporters in the newsroom and helping to break the ice for me. To this day, I’m still pretty introverted.
After the time as a broadcast assistant came to a close, I got hired on a permanent basis as a production assistant, which included pointing the anchors to the correct camera or organizing the tapes for playback during the newscast. Most of my shifts were on News 4 This Morning, a newly created morning show with coanchors Marc Cox and you guessed it, Margie Ellisor.
This worked out well, as I would be able to go out on stories with Marc or Margie after the news was over; because at that time my shift was over and I was free to soak up all the knowledge they’d lend me. Sometimes, I’d even be able to do interviews with the subjects who’d be appearing on the news and take my information back to the station and create my own story.
I looked up to Margie on these occasions, because she took the time to not only critique my writing and storytelling but also give me honest feedback on how to improve. She also had tips on the job search process, which was much different in 1996-97 than it is today. Her feedback and list of contacts became valuable to me.
Landing that first job was not an easy task for me. But because of the support from several members of the KMOV staff, I did it. Margie was my biggest supporter and helped mold me into the journalist I am today. It is my hope that I am as supportive and nurturing to up and coming members of the staff in my current newsroom as Margie was to me 20+ years ago.
And she is responsible for setting up my first meeting with a professional wrestler. Prior to WWF’s Badd Blood pay-per-view coming to town, Margie was assigned the task of interviewing the Honky Tonk Man. She knew I was a huge fan and invited me along, not to do work, but to enjoy the moment. I thank her for opening that door for me as well.
I am a journalist with more than 20 years of experience and a professional blogger. I have been writing for most of my adult life. I have clients in several states and look forward to writing something for you soon.