Monday, October 26, 2009

Interview with Lindsey Ward

Both working and going to school helped prepare Lindsey Ward for the tough media industry. Now Ward is a reputable reporter and anchor for WSLS 10 thanks to her hard work and determination.

Wards biggest piece of advice for aspiring anchors is to become a one-man band because it is “ the future of this industry.”

Below is a selection of question and answers from my recent interview with Lindsey Ward.

Ashley: What inspired you to want to go into the media industry?

Ward: Around my junior year, it all of a sudden hit me that I wanted to be a TV reporter, and until that point I didn’t give any thought to it. I went to journalism school after senior year to pursue that route and wanted to find a school that had a great journalism and communication program. One of the big things that drew me to this industry was that you are “in the know” within the community, etc.

Ashley: What activities do you like to do outside of working at WSLS?

Ward: I love shopping. Whenever I leave work I go home and sit on the couch and watch mindless TV. All day long you just work, work, work and it’s such a stressful job. You are always on your toes, so when I go home I watch a ton of reality TV.

Ashley: How did college prepare you for the media industry?

Ward: I was a little different. I worked a full time job while I was in college so I used both of those (college and a job) to bounce off each other which really helped me. Something I was doing at school I would be doing at work so it really helped me to have both of those. For me, it just worked out because it was a better situation that just going to school.

Ashley: What job you have during school?

Ward: Started at channel 12 in Richmond as a teleprompter. By the time I left, I moved up to working assignment desk on weekends. It gave me much more a hand in assignments and stories and being apart of a newsroom. I started editing for shows and that helped me because I had to read every single script so that helped me learn how to write. Then I asked if I could help write scripts and they said yes.

Ashley: What did college not prepare you for in industry?

Ward: The biggest thing it didn’t prepare me for was delivery and appearance. I didn’t have a class where they went over your voice, what you wear, how to look, and your hair/makeup. That was one thing that I gathered from my job. I see so many times where students coming out of college who don’t look professional. Just stuff like the appropriateness for the job. And that’s the news director’s first impression so it’s something to be aware of.

Ashley: What was your first job right out of college?

Ward: My first reporting job in Charlottesville at WCAV, which worked for four stations in one. I was a one-man band and it was tough, really really tough, because you don’t always get the training you need, and you get thrown into the pond. I remember sitting there on Saturday morning and I only had one weekend of training and I had no direction of how to get around Charlottesville. I had a package due at six and I had no idea where I was going. It's sink or swim and so many people get out of the business in their first job because they can’t do it. If you can make it to your second job, I consider it an accomplishment.

Ashley: While you worked in Charlottesville you had many roles such as producer, anchor, photographer, and reporter. What was it like doing so many things for one company and which role did you enjoy the most?

Anchor. I really like reporting but there you do reporting and photography and I was the worst at photography. I would come back with blue, green and orange video (laughs). I could hear my news director in his office saying, “ WHO DID THIS!?”

Ashley: Why you like anchoring the most?

Ward: I think because you connect with the viewers either they love you or they don’t. You really have an opportunity to show them your personality. Whenever you are on the desk you can really connect with your viewers.

Ashley: What was it like being arena host for women’s basketball at UVA? How did you get this job?

Ward: I LOVED that job. It was awesome. In Charlottesville my station was a station for UVA. We had a contract to do certain things like shows on their sports for spring and fall. We basically had certain obligations to them. When they needed a host they asked me and it was great. I REALLY enjoyed it and it was a lot of fun. It was nice because you get to see your viewers outside, and get to meet them and be one-on-one with them. It really shows your personality.

Ashley: What do you believe is a common misconception that people have about working in the media industry?

That you make a lot of money, hands down. They think you make so much money and are wealthy. They look at you like you are ridiculous if you don’t donate to charities, but you don’t have a lot to give.

Ashley: What is the hardest part about the industry in your opinion?

Ward: Just keeping up. It takes a lot out of you… so much out of you. It’s really easy to get burnt out quickly. A lot of people don’t make it past the first job. It takes so much out of you. You realize that you are making very little money and you are working holidays, weekends, giving up a lot of things that may be important to some people. A lot of women don’t make it because if you are anchoring, you are going in at 2:30 p.m and get off at 11:30 p.m. And if you work a morning show, you are going to bed super early. It is just not family friendly.

Ashley: What’s your favorite part about your job?

Ward: I really enjoy anchoring and reporting. Being able to do both. On Friday nights, I have to do sports feature pieces and I really enjoy that because it’s not all serious like sitting in a city council meeting. You're going out and putting together a creative piece. What I enjoy the most is being creative with the job, like writing the video. At our station, we have great photographers who really help you put together some really good stories.

Ashley: Do you have any major goals or future plans?

Ward: Honestly, I have been somebody who has been so goal orientated. Literally there hasn’t been a moment in my life where I haven’t had a goal. Since I have been anchoring here, I haven’t had a goal yet. I have no idea what I want to do beyond this. I just want to get better at anchoring and hopefully our viewers will like it.

Ashley: What advise do you have for aspiring anchors/ reporters?

Ward: One-man band. It makes you better and we made bigger jumps than a lot of the other people at other stations. You are doing so many jobs at one time and if you can still put together a decent tape, they will know you can do multiple tasks. It is the future of this business and it would be silly for graduates who leave college and find a job where they already have photographers because this media is so big into mutli-media journalism.

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