Saturday, February 13, 2016

Jenni Joyce: "I Fell in Love With This Career More Than I Could Have Ever Imagined."

Jenni Joyce was a child actor, performing on stage from a very young age. That experience set her on the path to the career she has today.

“I was always interested in journalism,” she said. “I was always asking questions.”

When she was 16, her singing teacher connected her with Carol Erickson, who was then a weather person at CBS3.

Jenni began making weekly trips from her childhood home in Cherry Hill to Old City, where CBS3 was located. She made that commute regularly for the next three years until they ultimately hired her.

“I fell in love with this career more than I could have ever imagined,” she said.

By then, she was a broadcast journalism student at Temple. She continued working at CBS3 until she graduated a semester early, in 2006.

She took her first on-air reporting job in The Bronx at News12. She was a one-man band, showing up at locations in a News 12 Prius with a bunch of equipment – camera, tripod, microphone, etc. She shot and edited video, including stand-ups.

“Every day was so exhausting,” she said, noting that one-man band reporters are becoming more and more common in broadcast journalism.

She did stints at CBS 21 in Harrisburg and at Action News here in Philly before landing at Fox 29. These days, she is a general assignment reporter, filling-in on the anchor desk when needed.

Most days begin with staff meetings, where everyone presents story ideas.

“If you’re not bringing anything to the table, it’s not good,” she said.

She reads the local newspapers and websites, follows a lot of social media, connects with various organizations and she looks for national stories that she can put a local spin on.

“Eventually people will start coming to you with story ideas,” Jenni said.

For the evening news, she’ll begin gathering interviews and b-roll around 6 pm and then write the script by 8:45. It goes to her director for approval by 8:45 and the photographer begins editing around 9:00. She usually goes live during the 10 pm newscast.

“I love what I do,” she said. “You learn so much about people. You go on adventures with them.”

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

• Finding a good story isn't always easy. Sometimes, you need to pull people aside. "Engage them," Jenni said. "Get to the heart of the story."
• Having good writing skills is crucial to putting a story together. "Writing is everything," she said, and then quoted a former boss, "If you're a good writer, you can go anywhere."
• When she was new to the industry, she would DVR her reports, watch them and critique herself. That's how she improved.
• In addition to her on-air reporting and anchoring, she regularly tweets and updates her Facebook page. Recently, she has been presenting live video feeds via Facebook Mentions.
• Fox 29 is a local news station and they do not have the same political agenda as the Fox Network.
• As a broadcast journalist, your appearance matters. "You have to look put together," Jenni said.
• Because she is on television, viewed by thousand of people every evening, she gets recognized, which kind of makes her a celebrity in town. "I really don't think about it," she said.
• As a journalist, she is always working. Everywhere she goes, she's looking for story ideas. But she makes sure to have a personal life. "I make sure to go to happy hour every week," she said. "I need that outlet."

What stood out for you?


Nadira Goffe said...

I thought it was really interesting when Jenni said that she didn't see the local news as being as biased as the larger news stations that report nationally. I always had assumed that the biases were as strong on the local level as they are on the national level. I do still feel that there is a certain bias on the local level when seeing the types of people that reporters choose to interview or what have you, but I though it was interesting hearing from her perspective what it's like when people make assumptions about here and her beliefs or political alignment.

Paulina Freed said...

I really enjoyed Jenni's presentation and loved that I got to hear from a temple journalism alum who is not much older than I am. It's definitely a lot more interesting to hear from someone who was in your shoes not too long ago. I originally came to temple as part of the acting concentration within the theatre major. It was funny to find out that we came from very similar backgrounds, having acting in theatre and film since we were young. While I am not interested in broadcast journalism specifically, it was still really cool to hear about her experiences. I also found it interesting how early in her presentation she discussed the issue of news biases. Hearing that she was from Fox news, i automatically assumed that her show (even though local) would have very bias news stories, favoring conservatives. Although Jenni says that her local Fox newscast is run separately from the national Fox newscast, I wonder if they would be able to get away with doing a story that put conservatives in a very negative light. This goes back to what we were talking about in class the other day about who really controls the message.

Jenny Stein said...

Jenni's presentation allowed for an interesting perspective on what it's like to pursue a career in journalism. I was most surprised by the amount of work she does on the road. She explained how she wrote many of her stories on her phone shortly after getting the interview. On top of that, she is also sure to update her social networking pages accordingly. It was interesting to learn that although she did pursue a career in broadcast journalism, she still felt as though writing was everything, and it was a necessary skill in the industry. Clearly Jenni has made it in her field, but it was through a lot of work that she was able to get to the position she's in today.

Ali McCann said...

I thoroughly enjoyed Jenni's presentation to the class. I felt more connected to her knowing she is a Temple alumna and went through the same process that I am going through now to get to the point in her career that she is currently at. I found it interesting when she talked about the importance of writing and how crucial it is to the industry. I always assumed that having good communication skills was what the most important element is in the journalism world. I always assumed that broadcasters received stories from writers and never knew all of the work a broadcaster actually puts into the work and stories that they present. I found all of her stories to be helpful tips for my journey into the same field.

Dominic V. Barone said...

I loved her transparency of her experiences. She really held nothing back as far as the hardships and benefits of the career. She gave detailed accounts to help visualize her story as well as listen to it. Something else that was really interesting was her decision to get a masters in a specialty she wanted to focus her reporting on. I love that she's a professor. That's something I definitely want to do, and she just showed me how realistic it is.

Trey Lowe said...

I enjoyed listening to her speak about her experiences and what she went through growing up and such things. She spoke about real life situations. She kept it real and held nothing back from us. The way she explained it made me visualize what she was saying so i was able to understand. That connection she had with Temple made is 100 times better because now we have a connection. The fact that she also had backup plans, she went to college and also got her masters and wanted to continue on becoming a reporter.

Aaron Lockerby said...

I quite enjoyed listening to Jenni speak. Hearing about her experiences as a reporter made me realize how hard you must work to rise through the ranks in the world of broadcast journalism. I also felt that she was very open about the world of broadcast reporting as well as the her own experiences, such as working in the The Bronx and in Harrisburg. Like Jenni, I'm also interested in pursuing a masters degree in a more specific field of interest, so having more insight into how a masters degree could potentially affect me career-wise was a great help.

Imani Nathaniel said...

I really loved having Jenni as our guest speaker. Her passion for journalism and reporting is inspiring. Listening to her experiences within the media world was interesting. It was different, Jenni was honest and straight forward with what she was saying. In addition, since she too went to Temple, I wanted to listen to her even more. The fact that she graduated from the same school I am attending is remarkable. It makes it easier for us students to connect with her, because she was in our place at one point. Jenni also opened my eyes to how much hard work and dedication it takes to pull together a story. In all, Jenni was extremely helpful, and I enjoyed everything about her visit.

Owen Halsey said...

I really liked having Jenni come to the class on Thursday. Hearing that she started out with her own camera, doing her own reporting, running from story to story was really motivational. When she described her normal fast pace day, getting up early, creating a story, and then presenting it for the nightly news, really appealed to me. It sounds so exciting and demanding, as it seems like she is always on her feet. Another part that I found interesting was the fact that to improve, Jenni would watch herself, and pick out things that were not working. I respect her for this and for the fact that she worked really hard to get to where she is today. Her passion and drive to report the news really inspired me.

Kari Malloy said...

I thought Jenni's presentation was very interesting. While I myself am not really interested in going into broadcast journalism, it was really cool to hear what its like from someone who has had so much experience with it. It was also really interesting to hear how she got to where she is now--like how she started off doing everything herself in the Bronx. Also, as a journalism major, seeing someone be so passionate about what they do in journalism was really inspiring.

Lani Assaf said...

The thing that really stood out to me about Jenni's presentation was how she mentioned that as a reporter, you have to be bringing new story ideas to the table every day of work. For some reason I guess I always thought that it was people behind the scenes who scouted out the stories and then the reporters and anchors covered them. But knowing that you have to have fresh story ideas every day of work, I think that creates a lot of pressure and also forces you to look for stories in places you might not have originally thought of.

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