Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Consumer Reporter Nydia Han: "If You Plan to go Into TV News, You're Going to Work Hard."

NYDIA HAN WANTED to be a magazine writer. But after interning at a San Francisco television station while she was in college, she became hooked on TV news.

"I loved the immediacy of it," she said during her visit to class yesterday. "I really saw the power of TV news, and the ways it can contribute to the world."

Her path to becoming an anchor and consumer reporter for 6ABC's Action News, one of the most popular local newscasts in the country, was not easy. The southern California-native had/ has hints of the Valley girl accent of her youth. One potential employer told her that she had too many wrinkles on her face - when she was in her low 20s. One of her college journalism professors actually suggested she stick to print.

But she persisted. Despite the boatloads of rejection.

She landed a job in Pocatello, Idaho. She was a one-man band there - shooting her own video, performing interviews, editing the packages and doing live shots by herself. It was tough work but working at a smaller market station taught her numerous skills and career lessons.

"At a small market station, you can make mistakes and not get fired," Han said.

She moved on to Oklahoma City where she became a tornado-chasing news and crime reporter. She also started doing consumer affairs stories there, and that led to her next gig as a consumer reporter in Houston. She came to Philadelphia in 2002.

She finds consumer stories to be tremendously rewarding.

"You can genuinely help people," she said.

Here are a few other things she said that stood out to me:

• She said, "Don’t get into journalism if you’re just looking for a glamorous, high-paying job.”
• It can take a long time to get to the point as a journalist when you earn a high salary. At her first job, she earned $14,000 annually. She bought her clothes at Walmart.
• Crime is not her favorite thing to cover but some reporters love it. There is an adrenaline rush when covering breaking stories. And the viewers care, she said.
• In news, you might work a story all day and then right before the newscast, something else will break. You'll have to jump to the breaking story. The previous work may never be seen. It happens.
• "At the end of the day, TV news is a business, too," Han said. "We want to do good community journalism but we have to win our time slot."

• Every day, she makes phone calls to potential sources, she performs research, logs tapes, writes stories and sets up interviews. Plus, she acts as a weekend anchor and weekday fill-in anchor.
• She gets ideas for stories from emails, phone calls and on facebook.
• Her goal is to find stories that will have the greatest impact.
• Most of her stories run about 90 seconds. Some run for around 2:30. And she often begs to get an additional 10 or 20 seconds.

• She suggests you do multiple internships. And do one at a smaller market where you'll get to try numerous tasks and really be of use (you might even get on air).
• "Start looking for internships as soon as you can," Han said.
• During your internships, befriend a few reporters. Learn from them and after the internship, keep in touch with them.
• Take the initiative. Do stuff. Offer to help. Get involved!

• The future is online, she said.
• "If you plan to go into TV news, you're going to work hard," she said.

(by the way ... here is a link to her facebook page).


Brydels said...

Never really thought about going into broadcast journalism but she really had some great things to say that applied to journalism as a whole. What she had to say about internships was pretty important to me. You should have her back for your other classes in the future.

Elizabeth Offner said...

Well first off, I thought it was pretty cool to see someone I've watched on the news for awhile in person. Not to mention seeing her on the 11 o'clock news later than evening wearing the outfit she wore to class.
I thought she said a lot of great things about the business. I like how honest she was about the struggle in journalism, but it's the truth. She made a great point, however. The most important thing about setting yourself apart from the others is your drive to succeed. That can be said about any industry.

Laura said...

I really enjoyed having her come to class yesterday. She did not sugar coat how hard it is to suceed in this business, however she is living proof of just how it can turn out if you persist. Furthermore, she was just so sweet and encouraging the whole time. I definitly got alot out of her presentation.

M A Bowe said...

First off, the picture is awesome haha. I thought she was a solid public speaker (something I have trouble with). Although I'm not going into the field of journalism, I thought she had a lot to say about just getting a job in general. Her plight was interesting and inspired me not to give up even in the current job market. When she spoke about her experience with the producer who criticized her for her "wrinkles", I had a hard time believing that she was passed over for something so trivial, but I suppose that's how the business works. Overall she was pretty impressive.

Arick said...

I thought her comments on the industry were very insightful and truthful. She was wonderful to listen to and seemed so down to earth and genuinely loves the work she does. Her thoughts on internships really struck me as well. Overall a great class!

Abiola Collis said...

Did you all see what I was talking about, i mean look at me that is not my usual look but Nydia had me blushing. She is beautiful and a professional in the field and I admirer her. journalism is a Business people.

Kadian Larmond said...

I must say Nydia is my favorite visitor so far. Her story was so inspiring. knowing she was continuously turn down for broadcasting job show how important this career was to her. She never gave up and now she's finally living her dream. I am happy that she followed her heart and kept on going

Madeleine said...

Even though I am not a broadcast journalism major I thought her speech connected to all types of individuals. What I found most appealing was the focus and passion she had even when no one believed in her. She appeared to be very care free and enthusiastic when speaking, but it was quite apparent she is serious about her work and is very determined. Overall the message to keep believing in yourself and your dreams was very apparent and inspiring.

Caroline Newton said...

I really really enjoyed Nydia Han's presentation. She seems very humble and appreciative of her success. You can tell she genuinely wants to help people and is not just saying that because it is what people expect her to say. I found her life story about after college to be very inspirational, and she worked hard for where she is. She did not just get her job handed to her and that is awesome.

Mary Gbaya- Kanga said...

I loved the fact that I got to see Nydia in person after watching her on television. She's cuter in person. Lol. I also liked that she gave the raw truth about how hard journalism really is and didn't just show us the glamorous side of it. I can't even imagine her being a tornado chaser. That's awesome.

Anonymous said...

I was very impressed with her journey as she explained in class. After my internship at a TV station this past semester, I have realized how challenging it truly is to break into this industry and have a greater appreciation for journalism.

Alexis Wilkinson said...

I really was glad to read this article since I have the same goals in becoming a broadcaster. I do not necessarly want to do the news but I am open to anything that I can get my foot in the door. I found all her tips to be very helpful and were actually things I was already thinking about.