Interviews

Published on May 8th, 2018 | by Landon Buford

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Seattle Washington Native And Local Journalist Tony Black Discusses The Path He Took To Achieve His Dream

 

Photo Credit – Denver Headshots

Tony Black is a Seattle Washington, native in the field of broadcast journalism. He just recently took an opportunity in the Seattle market after spending four years in Spokane, Washington, after he graduated from Washington State University. Tony took an internship with a local  CBS affiliate television station and got right to work as he started to pursue his in the field of journalism. Not much time went by before he was offered a full-time position covering sports in the Eastern Washington Region for high school football.

Recently, Tony decided that he wanted to expand his horizons in the field and decided to apply for a position in the Seattle market.  He thought it would be a great opportunity to come home. So, he got a call back from a local Seattle television station and met the hiring committee and he was hired based on his background and the energy he brought to the interview.  It is not very often that one makes the jump from the 54th media market to the 11th, but Tony was able to do so by using non-traditional methods. It obviously worked because now he is able to cover stories in the Seattle Market.

The Hype Magazine correspondent Landon Buford recently sat down with the journalist to talk about his journey from graduating college to where he is now. Tony discusses what aspiring journalists need to do to possibly get their opportunity to follow their dreams as well. The full interview with Tony Black can be seen below.


As someone that was able to intern at a local news station in Spokane Washington after graduating from Washington State University. Can share some advice on what path someone should take that doesn’t have the opportunity intern at new station?

In this day and age, you can take advantage of the technology that we have at our disposal. You do not have to go the traditional route to get where ultimately want to go. There a lot of opportunities out there whether that is through platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Snapchat. Those platforms allow you to create your own brands. In today age it is important to have your own brand that allows people to identify you as a journalist or whatever career path you are looking to pursue.

That is not to say that an internship is bad, and it should be avoided. If you are in college I would advise that you reach out your school newspaper, radio station, or television station to see if they have internships available if you are pursuing a career in journalism. Is incredibly valuable and I’m not going to say that even though I got an internship I would have been able to just right in as a journalist, it wasn’t for that internship I probably would be where I am today without that internship. The point that I trying to make does not get discouraged if you do not get an internship right out of college because there are now more options available to reach your goal.

Do think it is better to apply for internships during your junior and senior to make the transition from college to a professional a smoother transition?

It all depends because some internships require that you be a junior or a senior to apply. Some might let you come in, but it might not be paid because you do not meet the age requirement. It really depends on which internship you are trying to apply for. For general sake, you probably would want to start looking at internship around the start of your junior year in college because if you are able to land one. It opens the door for you to come back the following or land one elsewhere. A lot of individuals will want until their final semester and some get lucky and are able to land one while others are not.

Do you think companies like the PAC 12 Network should start approaching freshman and sophomore students in the first couple years of internships?

To an extent yes, there is always more that can be done by these sporting companies and I’m sure they will say the same thing. It also depends on how many internships that are available because not is going to be handed to you. You must know the right people just like the common saying of “It is not about what you know but who you know” I will not lie that does help as you get further along in your career, but you also you must be able to bring your own competitive edge and drive. So, if you want an internship at the Pac 12 Network or any other network you must take the initiative and pursue it.

You were able to move from the 54th ranked media market into the 11th market with your relocation to Seattle. Can talk about how you were able to pull that off?

The easiest way I can say it is, I had a shooter’s mentality. For me, I have been doing a little bit of everything I was able to land an internship and then the news station hired me on full time. They had me doing some behind the scene material and I wanted to be on camera. So, I started making more an effort to learn every aspect of the business to prepare myself when the opportunity presented itself. In my situation make the jump that I made was strictly on faith because I took a chance. It was not the traditional way that people would have took to get back to Seattle from Spokane, but I wanted to see what would happen. I applied they reached out and invited me out for an interview. The one thing that they said when they hired me for the job was that they were a big fan of my energy and my skill set.  When there was a crisis in Spokane on our local television there were not many areas that I was not familiar with during my time there.

What will you be doing specifically in your new role?

I will be doing a morning show reporting role that involves the general news of the day or what stories that I come across. It is typically a more upbeat type of show that helps people get up in the morning and prepare them for the day ahead. My background is primarily in sports and for me to make the jump to news is different, but it will give me the opportunity to find the focus in other stories outside of sports industry.

Do you plan on partnering with UW or WSU to help mentor young aspiring journalist?

When I was in Spokane I went back to WSU many times to help mentor and speak to some of the up and coming journalists. Some of them I keep in contact today as they follow me on twitter and likewise. I personally enjoy doing that and even as a Coug, I have no problem going to talk to UW kids if they want to learn about the industry. Right now, with all that is going on in the media, it is an exciting time to be a journalist. It is challenging everyone to be a better journalist and do more with less. I want to be able to share and pass down and it is my dream for someone that I mentored come and take my job. That doesn’t mean I want them to take my job tomorrow let get a couple of more years in, but it will be awesome down the line.

How many hours do you spend in the film room studying and prepping the day before you must be on camera the next day?

Sometimes you only have five minutes to prepare before you go on camera and sometimes you have a lot of time. It just depends on the situation I am always thinking about stories and ideas. You work your eight and half hour shift but in the news industry the news never stops and it not unheard of the be working off the clock.

What has been your toughest assignment to date and how did you approach it?  

 The toughest assignment that I have been assigned was to produce a 30-minute special that airing on a Wednesday. And to be fair I knew it was coming and I was on vacation the weekend before and did come back until Monday night. So, I only had a day and a half to put the segment together from scratch and as you know that is not easy. You cannot just cut over to another segment you have to put the whole thing together without the traditional news format. Every task I give myself I look at as a challenging assignment because I am OCD and a perfectionist. I always trying to do more then what I have in front of me.

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About the Author

Washington State Graduate Past Interviews include Grammy Award Winner Kenny G, David Banner, WNBA President Lisa Borders, What's Trending's CEO Shira Lazar, Ice Cube, NBC's Chicago PD LaRoyce Hawkins, Family Matters Darius McCrary, En Vogues Maxine Jones, Team USA Track & Field Member Norris Frederick, James Kyson, WNBA Great Lauren Jackson, and more.


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