After getting a behind-the-scenes look at the production side of broadcasting yesterday, the Smile, You’re On Camera students had the opportunity to see the field from a more personal angle.
WLNS weekend anchor Lauren Thompson visited the students in the Snyder-Philips auditorium during the morning of Aug. 1 to talk to them about her profession and the realities of pursuing a career in broadcast journalism.
“If you’re doing (this career) just to be on TV, it’s not worth it,” Thompson, who has been with WLNS since 2003, said.
Starting as an intern, Thompson said she landed a job at the station as a general assignment reporter. Gradually she rose in rank to anchor the channel’s morning show. After having children, she became the evening anchor on weekends.
Thompson stressed to the students that the job is not, for the most part, glamorous. Anchoring required many sacrifices in her personal life—for starters, a 2:30 a.m. start time during her stint with the morning show and less time with her family.
The students in the class said they enjoyed Thompson’s visit.
“Lauren was definitely more personable for people my age. She was answering things that were more abstract,” Julia Dunmire from Fitzgerald High School said.
Even now, after nine years with the station, Thompson said she still wears many hats. In addition to her anchoring, she functions as a newsroom manager, writes for the show, approves reporters’ stories and runs the station’s Twitter and Facebook pages on the weekends.
“If you want to succeed in this field, you have to do more with less,” she said.
Thompson also talked to the students about the importance of professionalism in social media.
“I’m always representing the station,” Thompson said. She warned students that their posts now could hurt them in the future, especially in the field of broadcast journalism. She further explained that because anchors are often in the limelight, they must always be aware of the public eye.
“You don’t want an employer to not hire you just because they saw pictures of you on spring break seven years ago,” Thompson said.