Thursday, February 4, 2010

Magee: Fox News Is Right Down the Middle.

KEVIN MAGEE BEGAN his college career as an electrical engineering major at Drexel. After a few days at his first college internship, he recalls, "I thought I was going to die."

Then he found the campus radio station, WKDU, and fell in love with the medium. To become further trained in broadcast, he transferred to Temple.

After stints at KYW News Radio, KYW TV, NJN, ABC Radio, Good Morning America and CNBC, Kevin now serves as the vice president at Fox News, overseeing the Fox Business Network and Fox Radio, among other duties.

Here are a few things that stood out for me from his visit to class today:

- He says that Fox does not promote conservative causes.
- Their news coverage, he says, is straight down the middle.
- Their evening programming, which is mostly talk shows, offers opinions but they make the audience aware that what they are seeing and hearing is opinion, not news.
- The audience at Fox tends to be older, wealthier and conservative.
- Bill O'Reilly is a master broadcaster, according to Kevin.
- What he does may be entertaining but Glenn Beck is not an entertainer.
- If someone at Fox says something that proves to be incorrect, the network tries to air their mistakes publicly and apologetically, Kevin says.
- Finding talent for programming is unbelievably difficult.
- "Good talent" means being engaging on air, so that people want to return day in and day out.
- Talent is magic. Some people have it. Some don't. And it's not just about physical appearances.
- As a student aspiring to a career on air, you should try one of two routes: 1. start low in a big market and elevate within the system; 2. start in a small market as a reporter and move to larger and larger stations.
- As an intern, Kevin says, you should show up on time, smile, do all the awful intern work (with a smile) and keep your eyes open for opportunities. Make an impact during your internship.
- Broadcast executives can look at your demo reel for ten seconds and know whether you will be considered for the job.
- Networking is important. Very important.
- The difference between CNBC's business coverage and Fox's, Kevin says, is that CNBC reporters try to prove how smart they are; Fox reporters try to make their audience smarter.
- Everybody is biased, he says. Everyone has baggage. The best journalists are able to put that baggage behind them when they report.
- Fox doesn't cause controversies. They shine light on them.
- Conflict is good television.
- Rupert Murdoch does not have any influence on the editorial content at Fox News.

What stood out for you?


Alyssa said...

I loved him just because I'd love to be on Fox News someday, he was very insightful and helped me understand the ideas of an internship, and to not be disheartened by the labor and dreadful work brought along with an internship, but that it opens yourself to be able to get into the system. Great speaker, and very helpful.

shauna said...

I agree with Alyssa, I too would love to work for Fox News. I believe he was funny, engaging, and informative. I'm very glad that we were lucky enough to have him speak in our class. Knowing that college students are famously liberal, I'm sure there are many students that do not watch Fox News. However, no matter what political affiliation his news station is said to have, a visit from the VP of any media company is an amazing chance that many other schools simply do not get. I oughta know, I transferred to Temple BECAUSE my old school's communication/journalism department did nothing like this.

Peter Dalmasy said...

Definitely surprised me. I think Fox is still conservative at the end of the day, but Magee is a professional and has experience, therefore whatever he says I am going to trust.

If anyone is interested in watching the segment I mentioned in class with rapper Cam'Ron and record mogul/entrepreneur Dame Dash on the O'Reilly Factor, the link is available below:

Thanks again Professor Miller for bringing in another fantastic guest speaker.

Casey Carden said...

I still can't believe that we had the opportunity to talk with someone as successful as Kevin Magee. I am constantly amazed to learn how many powerful people are Temple Alumni. I was really inspired to hear Kevin talk about how he started out at the bottom and worked his way up to where he is now. My favorite comment of his was "If you want something bad enough, you'll get it. They won't be able to keep you away from it." As corny as it sounds, that made me feel like I have the chance to achieve great things too.

Daron Stivender said...

It was good to see that he worked hard to get where he is even though he may not have been a straight A student, his work effort and determination definitely has payed off. Temple + Communications Degree = Success

Jess Lopez said...

Not only was Mr. Magee informative, honest and insightful, he was also down to earth. He gave us all on honest breakdown on how hard it can be to break into this industry but also how fuflling it is. I also loved the way told us that if you want it bag enough, jobs are out there. I think that's a lot of journalists fear...not being able to find work. I know I left the lecture hall with hope and a new sense of determnation.

Jessie Fox said...

I agree with Daron. I thought it was really interesting that although he wasn't the best student, he didn't give up. He truly followed what he thought would be the best for him and built a successful career for himself. Sometimes school and grades can get discouraging and tough, but as long as you follow your heart, things will fall into place. I think Kevin Magee did a great job at speaking honestly about his past. He brought something that may seem like only a dream or desire for some people into an ontainable reality. Always trust yourself, no regrets.

Anonymous said...

I thought Kevin did a great job of putting into perspective just how hard it really is to achieve these one-in-a-million jobs, such as an on-air talent for Fox News. While they are certainly achievable, these jobs require such an important mixture of raw talent, hard work and perserverance. I think a lot of communications majors think with a simple degree and a little work you can land on-air for a major network, but, just like Kevin, if you ever read up on these huge talents you will see how many years, even decades it takes to get there. But, if you love it, you'll do it! Kevin was obvioulsy very relatable, he's a Temple Grad! Like many previous comments said, he is a prime example of how you can work your way to the top if your willing to pay your dues...nothing in life comes easy.

Dan P. said...

Maybe not quite as interesting as Larry Andersen, but it was still definitely worthwhile and insightful

Erica Hochman said...

Though some of his advice seemed discouraging, like how the business is 'really hard' and 'nasty', his visit was very insightful and I appreciated his honesty in that way. I thought that some of the interesting questions that were posed during his visit could have resulted with heated discussion and intensity. This wasn't the case and I respected that when certain questions seemed to attack him or his station, that he remained composed and didn't get too defensive. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to learn from a man who has gained such experience and found his success in journalism and the media.

Anonymous said...

Didnt trust him, thought he was lying through his teeth. He seemed smart enough to realize fox news is not "down the middle" when it comes to reporting news. So either hes sadly mistaken or a bold face liar.

kevin harkins said...

It was great to hear someone with as much experience in broadcasting as Kevin Magee. I thought when he talked about what it's like while first looking for a job was very helpful, that's something I've never really been clear on.

Francisco Ovalle said...

I loved it, he's a very nice down to earth guy, i love how he's so Honest and direct! he just says it straight forward...GREAT advices, and gave us a look of how is going to be after school, great guy with great experiences!

Gillian Francella said...

I hate Fox with a passion, but I loved Kevin Magee! He was really really nice and informative without being arrogant about success. By the end of him speaking, I was almost convinced that Fox News makes perfect sense. I think that Fox has a great business mindset. They know their audience really well, "old and rich, which tends to be conservative", have you seen how BIG the text is on Fox, my grandparents can definitely read that! When a student asked about Fox & Friends and how they "dumb down" I was surprised to hear Mr. Magee say that they are just trying to explain it, while other news programs try to show how smart they are. No offense Mr. Magee but I want my news to be smart, I don't need charts or someone to explain an acronym to me, I need whats really happening. I have so much to say about Mr. Magee's visit! He gave me great advice and I shook his hand- awesome.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Magee was very inspiring, especially to someone that does not know a whole lot about the fields of Journalism and Communications. I would love to here him speak another time.

Berryman, A said...

Kevin Magee is such an inspirational speaker. It was good to get insight on the Communications and Journalism world from someone who deal with it themselves. It was also good to have someone come and speak to us from one of the largest networks. He was a very good speaker and very helpful.

Alex Stack said...

Guest speaker Kevin Magee was quite informative and insightful during his appearance. Even though he is the VP of one of the most popular news programs in the world he created a very down to earth environment. It was very helpful, and even inspiring, when he talked about how he achieved his goals and the path he took. I also liked how he talked about the types of jobs he took over the years and how those experiences helped him throughout his life.

alessandralaura said...

What most stood out for me with Kevin Magee was his confidence in his craft. Not only was he confident in himself as a t.v. guy, but in his company as well. I think that in our society that is a big part of success, if not especially in the media.

LuQman Harper said...

It was interesting having Mr. Magee come in to talk. I really wanted to hear what he was going to speak about and confront, for the fact that fox tends to lean heavily towards the conservative. He came off as quite arrogant when addressing peoples questions, but then I came to realize that he had a lot of pride invested in him self and whatever he was about.

Anonymous said...

I zoned out a few times. This man is caught up with celebs.....not why i'm sitting in a journalism class.

Sam Kelly said...

"Talent is magic. Some people have it. Some don't. And it's not just about physical appearances."

Great quote. I mean how many of us can say we got magic in our blood? How many of us can say we have a great story to tell? How many of us really got it?

It's all about will power. It's all in a state of mind.

Carpe Diem!

Anonymous said...

To all the folks (other than one) who posted comments above...


You've all proven yourselves qualified to work in mainstream corporate media:

You have NO critical-thinking skills.

You're gullible. You accept what you're told by people in power, even when that information is contrary to common sense and/or widely-known facts.

Apparently, you sometimes judge whether something is true based upon whether the speaker seems to be "nice" (particularly when you're told that the speaker is successful/powerful).

You continue to accept his ridiculous statements as true, even though highly-credible, verifiable evidence to the contrary could be amassed with just one or two google searches.

Your commentary is boring, shallow, trite, mundane. It doesn't even rise to the level of "pedestrian."

Congratulations! You've got almost all the necessary qualifications for the job.