Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jim McKairnes: "Content Is King."

WHAT DID YOU THINK of today's guest, Jim McKairnes of CBS Studios?

Here are a few things that stood out for me:

- You need talent and ability, but you also need to be in the right place at the right time.
- He recognized his passions while he was still a student at Temple, and then found a way to incorporate his passions into his work.
- Even when he had a job, he was thinking about his next step.
- He used his journalism writing gigs as excuses to meet powerful people.
- When he first moved to Los Angeles, he knew few people, and he made little money.
- He lived at home with his folks, using his old bunk bed, until he was 22.
- He believes that the media have a social responsibility, and he's concerned about the portrayal of women on television.
- His concerns about women dying in sexual ways on prime time shows were dismissed by executives.
- If you open the hatch of your car in Los Angeles, day laborers will jump in.
- Networks are becoming more and more irrelevant as TiVo, DVR, Hulu, Fancast and other non-traditional programming options become available.
- There is still a demand for content producers.

Please share your thoughts by adding comments below.

47 comments:

Aleks Molnar said...

What stood out to me was an answer I asked him after the huge Q&A about integrity in entertainment media.

He says there isn't any, and that he feels many entertainment writers are "glorified stalkers."

Made me think twice about my chosen career path. I don't know if I could handle that sort of label. Time will tell, I guess.

Luis Crespo said...

He was a good speaker. His comments about social responsibility caught my attention, as did the comments about women and children (he talked about a 12-year old boy).

Written Light Photos said...

I think what I'm learning, the more I hear from people who have been at something for a while, is that very few people actually end up where they imagined themselves going.

A journalism major who ends up working in entertainment and is now interested in producing... I guess the moral of the story is to take every opportunity available, even if it doesn't seem directly applicable to our life goals, because those will continue to change.

I really enjoyed hearing him speak- I found it really encouraging in a "You might never do what you think you're going to" sort of way.

Nicole Holder said...

I really enjoyed his speech. I thought that he provided good insight as to how someone can get started in the news and media industry as well as how they can become successful. Also, as a young woman I could really appreciate his standing on the glorification of murdering women on certain shows. This demonstrated that there are people within the productions and television companies (with pull) that have the same views as some of the viewers.

Asia Sanders said...

What I took from Jim McKairnes lecture is that journalism is a free media within itself to explore. McKairnes story of landing a dream internship right out of college, gives hope to me as a freshman that I can land a job in this unsteady economy.

What I took out of his lecture is to be open to all forms of media and not to settle for anything that doesn't give you passion. Also, that longevity combined with this passion and contacts are crucial toward success in this business!
- Asia Sanders

Justin Verterano said...

I thought it was a pretty good speech. Something interested I picked up on is that networks are always trying to get ratings. His talks about women being murdered on TV is proof of that. They try to target their programming towards women so that they sympathize with these fictional characters, and how horrific the killer is.

Ray Boyd said...

I really enjoyed him as a speaker. I thought alot of the points he made were quite interesting and I find some confidence in the fact that he was able to graduate and contribute in many facets of information in his career following Temple. He was able to write and also contribute to television which is great because I have a passion for both of those things.

Nadirah Wilds said...

He life story was exciting and adventurous. He seems to take risks, chances and strongly believes that being in the journalism and broadcasting business we must have an open mind and not be afraid to take chances. The sky is the limit. And just like he said " LA is what you make it" I believe that life is what we make of it, along with a individual's career!!!!!

Dana Muraresku said...

Being in the right place at the right time is something that I am glad he admitted too. It is a great thing when people do not beat around the bush about how and why they ended up in the places that they have. He also seemed to be an honest man that stood by his values when it came to addressing the issue of the treatment of women on prime time television. Standing up for your beliefs and an example to go along with it was exactly what aspiring journalists needed to hear about from someone like Jim McKairnes.

Don Hoegg said...

I think a lot of the advice he gave applies to the job market in any industry. It's not what you know, it's who you know.

Colin McWilliams said...

I thought the presentation was a great reality and insight to how difficult this field can be to get into. The biggest take away lesson that I got from him was that you cannot give up. You have to stay true to yourself as well as your goals and interests and eventually it will pay off if you work hard to make your dream a reality. Excellent presentation!

Fatia said...

yea george i left a comment on ur email!

Ronnie said...

Jim is a funny guy. He strikes me as rather down-to-earth and it was refreshing to hear a realist's side of The City of Angels... His comment about being in the right place at the right time was very honest. Unfortunately, it appears that having good contacts is the primary way to climb the entertainment ladder. I only say unfortunately because having a degree just is not enough anymore.
Jim taught some valuable lessons too. He indirectly told us to follow our passions, keep a positive attitude and always have a sense of humor no matter what the situation.

Samantha Anderson said...

I really learned a lot from Jim's speech today. I guess the most important thing I learned is to try new things and to move on when you feel the need to. The fact that he left a comfortable job in TN to move to the infamously unfriendly and competive city of LA was very eye opening. In this business you have to take chances, and always try to better yourself. Basically be confident even when you know you aren't qualified enough. Persuade people that they NEED you on their team.

Steph Ferretti said...

I definitly learned alot to today from listening to Jim's speech. He has a great attitude and that is something that I really liked about him. I like that he was very honest and up front by telling us that being in the right place at the right time will probably take you further in your career in this field. Some people do not like to hear that, but he is definitely right. I thought he was pretty funny and entertaining. I really enjoyed listening to what he had to say.

Lisa Jiang said...

I really enjoyed his lecture. It's good to hear someone from the field speaking about their experiences and how they got to where they are now. I learned a lot and I would love it if you had more guests from different positions come in and tell us of their experience.

danielle.rosati said...

Jim was an amazing speaker. His story inspired me so much. I felt a connection with him because we are from the same Catholic backgrounds. It was really good to see such a successful Temple grad.

Nick Lantz said...

I was very interested in listening to Jim McKairnes today. I thought it was interesting how he had different views from the others at CBS and good for him for saying he's had enough. Also he was pretty funny..the whole wave joke at a family dinner was hilarious.

KearnDaddy said...

Jim is a very interesting man with great stories, and jokes and appealed to me very much so. He was a wonderful, very engaging speaker, and I can relate to him quite well.

Isabel Garcia said...

Jim was definitely a great guest speaker. You could tell early on in his speech that he spent time around comedy. I found it inspiring that he is still thinking of his next step. Hopefully his book will be published eventually; he seems like a man with many great stories and experience in the field of journalism.

Fast Eddeh said...

I liked Jim as a guest speaker, He shared plenty of his first hand expierences in the business and also kept his message fresh with plenty of comic relief here and there.

Joseph Schaefer said...

Having Jim McKairnes as a speaker in class was very informative. I was glad that you had picked someone who was extremely successful but also from Temple. All his stories were very interesting and covered so much ground on being a broadcast journalist. The two biggest points that now stick in my mind are, 1. Always think head about your next move in life/work and 2. Take chances, meet new people, you just might get hooked up. It also pays to be a good person. Overall, I really enjoyed Jim McKairnes as being a guest for our class. Thanks!

-Joseph Schaefer

Katelynn Hartman said...

I really enjoyed his presentation. He seemed like such a down-to-earth guy even though he has a job that many of us would kill for. I got the feeling that beyond working in the entertainment business and living in LA, he was just a regular guy who followed his dream, and as he put it, was at the right place at the right time. The one major point that I took from his presentation is that you should never be afraid to try something, put in that application, send that email, or go to that event. You need to have a general determination with a lack of expectation, because you never know what is going to give you your big break. I honestly felt like if he could do it, I could do it too.

Mike McDermott said...

I thought that Jim made somer very good points. He had enough experience that we could trust his advice. He taught to keep your eyes open for new career paths, to follow your dreams to a certain extent, meet people, and never be satisfied with what you have. Also, don't invite daylaborers in your car and wear a seatbelt.

F. Hilario said...

I thought he was a really entertaining guy with very valuable information for us. He taught me about living in LA, which hospitals you could go to (and if they're too far, etc.) and what car to drive and to wear a seatbelt. Probably one of the things that stood out for me was when he told us that a lot of his earlier success was based on luck and being at the right place at the right time. Hopefully we can have the same amount of success he's had. In regards to how women are portrayed in media today, it just reminds us that it's all a business and that sex sells--not that I’m supporting it. There are other ways of getting ratings (like better writing…which some shows, I think, should get on.) He also taught us that we shouldn’t sell ourselves out. We should always be ourselves and follow what we think is right.

Leah Curran said...

I really enjoyed and appreciated having him talk to us. I find it encouraging and somewhat comforting that he came from a background similar to mine and was able to become successful in the industry. He made a lot of good points and emphasized the importance of networking, which i found helpful. I also liked the fact that he answered our questions in depth and detail. All in all I learned a lot from him.

Anonymous said...

FELICIA TOPSALE SAYS....................

I think he is a man with integrity who is also very funny when speaking. He was real and honest. I think a lot of people in his industry don't care very much about the quality of shows they write and produce so it was refreshing to hear that he walked away from CBS becasue he didn't like the content of the shows on the network. To honest, I stopped watching CBS for a time ebcause I was unhappy with the themes and content of the programming.

Rachel Harr said...

I really appreciated hearing him speak because he made everything so realistic. The way he explained events in his life happening by chance gave me hope that sometimes it doesn't always matter how smart or credible you are (though it definitely doesn't hurt.) He really drove home the point of knowing people being KEY to marketing yourself and being successful. Once you network your name and get yourself out there, people are more likely to have you in the forefront when considering for an internship or job position. Lastly, I was impressed with his reasoning behind leaving his position at CBS. If I ever landed a job like that, and held onto it for 13 years, as hard as it is to say, I don't think I'd leave just to back up my beliefs or morals. I really admire him for that.

kiyagrn said...

I thought the guest speaker was great.He kept his audience involved and gave us all good advice.At first I thought that all I needed to know was how to write to become a journalist. Now I know that there is way much more you have to know.I am glad that he came to speak to us and I learn that you have to work for anything you want and you should become a journalist because you enjoy this profession, not because of the income.

David Glovach said...

Jim was awesome. Not only was he an engaging speaker, but he really took the time to listen to each person individual's question and answer it as honestly as possible. Hopefully other Journalism and Society students in the future have a chance to listen to what Jim has to say.

Wafai Dias said...

I liked that he was honest and made sure that his morals lined up with his proffesion. He was funny and I liked everything that he said.

Geo said...

FYI: If you email Jim McKairnes, address him by his last name (i.e. Mr. McKairnes). That goes for just about any person who holds a position you aspire to reach, or anyone you hope to learn from.

He may shy away from the title and ask you to call him Jim, but at least start with an element of respect. Some people are sticklers about such things. And some people are insulted when first names are the opening greeting, as though you are long lost friends.

Just a thought. Take it for what it's worth.

- George
(the teacher who prefers to be called George)

Chad Witmer said...

I thought the speech was great, it was entertaining and its clear that he enjoyes what he does. It was interesting to hear how he found his first job, and it just reinforces the fact that sometimes those kinds of things just happen.

khanhly said...

I really enjoyed his speech! SO fun and interesting. I also got to meet him at the end of the class, he was very friendly and he gave me great advices on my career field :)

Dalia Ghazal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Samantha Jarsocrak said...

I think Jim McKairnes's speech was very interesting and inspiring. I liked his stories about his past experiences.

Megan said...

I thought he was great. I had already known who he was before so having the opportunity to see and hear him in person was a great honor for me. He's the shit!

Josh Mervine said...

I really enjoyed Jim's speech to the class. He was quite entertaining and because of his experience, brought a lot of insight. I liked hearing about his experiences at CBS and some of his other work. I think it added a lot to the class.

Dylan Jeronis said...

I think that Jim was a great overall speaker for a few reasons. First off he answered a lot of questions from his own personal experience, which seemed to reinforce what he was saying. Secondly, he came from temple so he was in the same position most of us are in now. Lastly, his knowledge in all areas was noticeable and very helpful

Kate O'Brien said...

He was a great speaker (even when his jokes went unnoticed) and he really pushed the fact that accomplishment is all about opportunity and what you choose to make of it. Though seemingly obvious this really made me wake up and realize that if i want a career in writing I'm really going to have to work for it.

Keri Nusslein said...

I thought Jim McKairnes was awesome! He was a very good speaker and I can honestly say I was so interested in his speaking to us. Normally I am bored out of my mind when it comes to public speakers but Jim was so down to earth and it was really cool having a person in the business talk to us. I felt it was a good thing that Jim did speak to our class because he's involved in various networks and it's so cool to be able to talk to someone that may be doing the exact same thing you want to do. That way he can give you his advice and his experiences. I am very glad Jim came to speak to us, it was an awesome experience!

NewsNut said...

Last lecture, Jim McKairnes not only managed to keep our attention but also to convey a very important message to the class. As students and future journalists, we will have to take risks and be open to unexpected changes in our industry. As the mirror to the world, Journalism is a living thing and we must be able to reflect that life honestly in order to be affective. Jim also mentioned being accountable and responsible stewards of information. With those two items of advice, I think the class can feel confident that Mr.Jim McKairnes was indeed very helpful.

Samantha Madera said...

I really enjoyed his presentation. I actually want to focus on entertainment journalism, so I was very happy to hear about his adventures. It was very insightful.

Nathan Cross said...

Boy, what a relief to hear that interview impressions, and being at the right place at the right time are huge parts of the whole getting a job thing! Glad to hear there is hope for some of us.

Latifah said...

I think Jim McKairnes' presentation was very insightful. He told us inspiring stories that left me with knowledge of how mdia and different networks operate

Jim McKairnes said...

Hey there -- Jim the Speaker here...

Thanks so much for the comments and feedback...I take this speaking stuff quite seriously, and am heartened to know that it can pay off...

I want to post a lengthier comment in the next day or two as time allows, but I feel compelled to reach out right away after reading these posts to let Aleks Molnar know that either I misunderstood his question or he misunderstood my response.

I rarely if ever paint with a huge broad brush, so I find it troubling to be quoted as saying that I feel there is no integrity in the entertainment media ...

Fact is that there is a great deal of integrity. And the overwhelming majority of entertainment journalists are good and qualified and well-intentioned and reasoned reporters. What I (thought I) was responding to was my impression of the broadcast shows and "reporters" who fashion ghoulish coverage of young and troubled stars for the sake of ratings -- the "if it bleeds, it leads" approach to journalism. The obsession with Lindsay Lohan of late was particulary disturbing and, in my eyes, served no public need. THAT I do have a problem with. And some of THOSE reporters I do consider stalkers in their own ways.

I wouldnt want anyone to re-think a chosen career path based on something it was THOUGHT I said. I encourage (and enjoy) responsible entertainment coverage.

Thanks

Jim McKairnes
Los Angeles

Dannaly Sam said...

bring Jim back! he seemed like a very sincere person who wanted to let students know on the real "dirt" of the entertainment industry. i hope he comes back before the semester ends.