Expect the unexpected as the newsroom is about to flip


Our Broadcast Journalism class experienced a daylong adventure at WPXI in Pittsburgh this semester.  It offered a reality check into a newsroom where broadcast and digital news are about to flip.

I was feeling both nervous and anxious in the days leading up to our journey to Channel 11. I was nervous because I really did not know what to expect in a large market newsroom.  I was also anxious and excited to see if it were something I would want to do after graduation in a news organization focused on digital and social media.  Our adventure at Channel 11 was everything I expected it to be and more.

This was far more than an ordinary field trip or shadowing experience.  It was interactive, educational and transformative.  We met so many dynamic people from the news anchors to the news director– but then we encountered people with some new and unique titles: social media assignment editor, the digital content producer, and the digital news ninja.

Vinny Nerti joins members of his Westminster group with WPXI News Ninja Tony Atkins for a selfie.

We were encouraged to actively engage with all these individuals and learn about their jobs and duties.  We followed meetings and planning strategies.  We went into the field during a live shot and watched story pitches, deployment of crews and how the story emerged online and moved to the broadcast.  Being apart of this amazing opportunity really opened my eyes and sparked a few interests on what I would like to do after college and seeing if the newsroom was really for me.

There were a few positions that really appealed to me as we witnessed the news staff and crew in action. My first love is sports, but the WPXI team was candid.  They focused on breaking and hard news.  When they tackled sports, it was a from a news point of view.   The frank conversation about the limited scope of sports in this market helped me realize that there are new opportunities to seize.  I was drawn to one of the new positions on the digital side of the newsroom that definitely fell outside the sports domain.  The job was the social media assignment editor. The man who holds this position at WPXI is recent college grad John Klocko.

I was very intrigued about his job and what he does on a daily basis. He explained to us how he loves his job and that it would be so much harder if he did not enjoy what he does. John was an intern at WPXI working at the assignment desk. After graduating, the WPXI management brought him on board because of his love for what he did.  His position as social media assignment editor has a number of duties. He scans all different social media platforms searching for tips on breaking news that he can post on WPXI’s social media pages.  He introduced my classmates and I to multiple platforms where he can search traditional and social media in a matter of seconds.

twitter-profile-imageI was amazed by some of the things he showed us; in particular was the social media search engine Topsy. This social media search engine gives him the power to search a key word and a list of all tweets, blogs, videos, and the list goes on.

John also taught us how you have to keep an eye on the competition so you can stay ahead of the Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 9.52.37 AMgame. He also stressed how networking and the way he was able to obtain long lasting relationships with the right individuals played a big part in how he has the job he loves today.

Meeting John Klocko and the entire WXPI experience was one of the more eye opening experiences I have ever encountered in my life. Watching every little detail it takes to make a successful day of news coverage online and on television showed me how much hard work these dedicated people put in to give all viewers the most up to date news and updates. These people come from all different backgrounds and work together to produce a product that a wide group of viewer to enjoy.

I am a big advocate for teamwork and I witnessed a driven team pulling from all sides– both digital and broadcast.  After completing the day at Channel 11, I feel very excited to take on the upcoming challenges in my life as a digital journalist. I wish to one day be apart of something great like they have at WPXI.