Television News with Tim Conroy
Television News Anchor
Tim Conroy anchors and reports for the KDRV television station in Medford, Oregon, along with his wife Jennifer. He has been preparing for this career since he pretended being Peter Jennings as an eight year old boy in Canton, Massachusetts. A dedicated and courteous professional Tim hopes to teach students about journalism when he signs off the air
CCB: When did you realize you wanted to work in television news?
TC: I realized I wanted to work in TV when I was very young. I always enjoyed watching the news and have tapes pretending to be Peter Jennings when I was eight years old. When I got to high school I was very active in my school's cable station and then kept it going through college.
CCB: That’s interesting that even at a young age you could pick out the successful anchors like Peter Jennings. What is it about the news that is so appealing to you?
TC: I always liked current events and devour newspapers. I pretended I was Peter Jennings because that's the news my dad watched.
CCB: Have you been able to use any of the knowledge you acquired at Syracuse University on the job? If so, please explain.
TC: I learned more theory at Syracuse than hands on training. I feel I was very prepared when it came to approaching the news and how it works. My internship at WBNG in Binghamton, NY provided me with the hands-on training I needed.
CCB: What do you mean when you say you learned more theory than anything else while at Syracuse?
TC: You learn how to do things. You get a chance to do them, but not very often. They wanted us to do internships because we could get a chance to work on things more often. For instance we learned about communications law, but you don't really get a chance to apply it until you have a job or internship.
CCB: How did your internship at WBNG provide you with hand’s on experience?
TC: I was reporting a bunch of stories every weekend. I was never on air, but I shot and wrote each story. I learned a lot about how to write for news and the best way to do things. Repetition is the mother of success.
CCB: What is a typical day on the job like?
TC: I get into work at 10:00am and see what my story is. If it hasn't been set up I make calls to set up the interviews. I gather the camera, microphones, tripod, get a news car, and head off to the story. I usually get back around 2:00pm and prepare what I was working on for the 5:00, 6:00 & 6:30 newscasts. I usually get it done around 4:30 and then present it. I anchor the 6:30 newscast, so I read over the scripts during the 6:00 show.
CCB: What is your title?
TC: I am a reporter/anchor. I report during the day for the 5:00 & 6:00 newscasts and anchor the 6:30 newscast.
CCB: Is it a different feeling being an anchor, than say a reporter?
TC: When you're anchoring you're on the air for most of the show. When you're reporting you have your 1:30 and that's it. I'm learning that anchoring is hard and requires a lot of practice. To be a good anchor you have to come off as the guy next door and like you're just talking not reading.
CCB: Please give a brief overview of your TV news career so far.
TC: My TV career began in January of 2001 as a news reporter at KMEG in Sioux City, Iowa. I didn't like it and was lucky to move to sports as the weekend sports anchor that May. In January of 2002 I became sports director and held the position until July of 2003 when I left to come to Medford, Oregon. I followed my wife here who is also in the business. I decided to get out of the business and worked in marketing for eight months. I realized news was my passion and got back into it at KDRV as an anchor/reporter.
CCB: You began your career as a news reporter, but didn’t like it. Now you are covering the news again and love it. What changed?
TC: When I began my career doing news I was at a station that was doing things to get viewers. They were more sensational than other stations and it didn't fit with my personality. I am the type of person that tries to do good with his work and none of that was possible. Now I am at a station that is run well, knows its philosophy, and I agree with it. I think it also is nice being able to anchor everyday. I enjoy that part of my job.
CCB: Have you had any mentors in your career?
TC: My professor Chris Touhey has been a big help and so has my wife Jennifer.
CCB: Do you see any similarities between sports reporting and your current job?
TC: Yes, I still do my own shooting, editing and writing. I don't have as much say in the stories I do, but I have some. I think once you can do one thing you can do others except weather. I think a sports background has helped me understand news better. The writing and delivery is a bit different, but it has the same foundation.
CCB: How did you learn about reporting/anchoring?
TC: I learned about anchoring and reporting at school initially. I learned a lot about reporting through an internship my senior year where I was able to report for a small station (a bit smaller than the one I'm at now) on the weekends. It was an excellent learning experience and gave me a great base I was able to get my first job with. Everyday I get to watch other reporters and see how they do things. I learn a lot about anchoring from my wife, Jennifer, who I think does a very good job.
CCB: What makes a quality reporter/anchor?
TC: Someone who can be thorough in their pictures and words is a good reporter. Everything needs to match up and look right. I think you need to be interested in the story you are working on as well. If you come across to the audience as caring about what you're telling them I think it's a great way to do your job.
CCB: Have any advice for people interested in becoming a news reporter?
TC: You should realize you don't get paid well to start and it isn't glamorous. Do an internship to see how you like it before you go to school. If you decide to go to school for it make sure you double-major. Having the journalism degree is good, but having something else makes you more marketable especially if you decide journalism isn't for you.
CCB: How did it feel the first time you were live on air?
TC: It was a dream come true. When you're a reporter 25 seconds of your day is on air and you have to realize the story you worked on is more important.
CCB: Would you say your reporting has become better since you started?TC: I think my reporting has gotten better. I have a lot to work on, but I speak more clearly and use more natural sounds to make my stories move.
CCB: Is being live when anchoring the most difficult part of your job?
TC: Trying to get people to talk to you on camera. Most stories people don't mind, but some stories the people don't want to talk and you have to convince them or think of some other way to do it. The people are the most important part of the story and you need them to make it work. When you're anchoring the toughest part, which I haven't mastered yet, is reading each story differently and coming across like you're having a conversation with the viewer at home. When you see it done right it's impressive.
CCB: People would be surprised to learn what about your job?TC: I do most of the work myself.
CCB: What has been the coolest thing about the job so far?
TC: Getting to see all four presidential and vice presidential candidates during the 2004 election, working the sidelines at major college football games.
CCB: Can you compare reporting to any other activity?TC: Doing a puzzle, you have to put the pieces together for the finished product.
CCB: Have you become more interested in the environment since that is the news that you cover?
TC: Yes, I pay a lot more attention to environmental stories now. I need to understand the issues and can get ideas from those stories.
CCB: Do you think that with the competitive nature of TV news, being in a smaller market gives you more access to the stories that you cover?
TC: I think you get more access in a larger market. The people you interview are more media savvy. By that I mean people who work at the company you are doing a story on or politicians are better because they're in a bigger city. (The same goes for the people in the media) That's a generalization, but it is usually the case. As for ratings you feel the competition for ratings. I think a lot of it depends on the management and place your station is in. I've worked for a third place station with questionable management and a first place station with good management. You want to work for the latter.
CCB: Being in a city like Sioux City, Iowa and now Medford, Oregon, does the news always have that communal feel to it?
TC: I think it does. I think the idea of news is making everything local. Both markets do that, but I think it is done better here. The news I cover is always related to the community. We won't do a story if it doesn't affect those watching it. It may not affect everyone, but as long as it gets someone we'll work on it.
CCB: What would you say is the main difference between news in a small market and a larger one?
TC: Small market news has less-experienced people so there are more mistakes. There's also less going on in a smaller market. That being said it's not horrible to watch a small market station it's just different. When you see examples in both it is very evident.
CCB: How do you feel about a movie like Anchorman, that being your career?
TC: I thought it was funny. It provides jokes for the workplace. It wasn't representative of the business today, but I hear it was close to what it was like in the 1970's.
CCB: Are there reporters or anchors that you look up to, that are at the top of their game?
TC: I don't have any that I constantly look up to. I always like to watch people in larger markets to see how they do it.
CCB: What is it like working at the same station as your spouse?
TC: It's nice. We have five hours that overlap and it works out well. I value her feedback, so I can show her what I'm working on and see what she would do to improve it.
CCB: What are your career aspirations and do they extend beyond the news?
TC: I would like to make it to a larger market and work as an anchor/reporter. I don't need to make it to network level… I eventually want to teach at the university or high school level.
CCB: What is the appeal of teaching broadcast journalism at a high school or college?
TC: Teaching appeals to me because I like being around students. They bring a lot of energy to a job and I would benefit by it. I also like watching people learn. To help someone do that would be very gratifying. I enjoyed the extra time and effort my teachers made when I needed help and I would like to give that back.