Janine Mack G'13

February 28, 2019

“At Newhouse, you learn how to report, anchor, produce, shoot video and edit video. I was able to tailor my experience to both reporting and producing, because I knew that I wanted a job that incorporated aspects of both.”

Janine Mack G'13
Janine Mack G'13

Janine Mack graduated from the broadcast and digital journalism program in 2013. Having worked for multiple news services both before and after her time at Newhouse, Mack recently became the Cross-Platform Associate Producer at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. While at Newhouse, Mack interned and freelanced with several outlets to build up her portfolio prior to graduation while volunteering as a reporter with Citrus-TV.

How did you obtain your current position, and what positions did you hold before it?

In 2017, I was working as a news producer for at KOSA-CBS 7 in Odessa, Texas when I decided to attend the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention and career fair in New Orleans, Louisiana. I went to get feedback on my work as a show producer when I was selected to participate in CNN’s producer workshop. While at the workshop, I engaged fully and met recruiters, managers, and producers. After the convention wrapped, I heard back from one of the recruiters that I interviewed with less than a month later. I originally interviewed for the package producing position, but was later selected for the role I have now. I packed up my bags and drove 20 hours to Atlanta.

Before working at CNN and KOSA, I freelanced as an associate producer at KTVT in Fort Worth/Dallas, Texas, worked full-time as a weekend producer/weekday associate producer in Shreveport, Louisiana. I briefly freelanced as a writer at Fox News Channel in New York City and freelanced as a desk assistant/teleprompter at WABC-TV, also in New York City. My first producing job was with Nexstar, who I worked with in D.C. for my capstone. 

Before attending graduate school, I freelanced as a desk assistant/junior reporter at WOR-AM in New York City, a production assistant at WWOR in Secaucus, New Jersey, volunteered for free as a desk assistant at NJN, freelanced as a desk assistant at PBS Newshour in Arlington, V.A., and freelanced as a production assistant at WPVI-ABC 6’s “Best of Class” production in 2005. 

What’s an average day like for you on the job? Take us through it.

There is no average day at CNN! Every day is different. 

During the week, my alarm goes off at 4:30a.m. I work different days each week so I’m always checking my schedule to make sure that I’m there when I need to be. If there’s a particular event I’m hosting or need to be to be at, I just take off.

I try to leave my apartment by 5:30 a.m. to 5:45 a.m. Once I am at my desk, I turn on the news. Of course, I watch CNN, but I also watch the morning news on WABC, my home market, and WSB here in Atlanta. While watching the news, I input the show team schedules and the control room schedules using I-News.

Once I send out the logs, my day varies from there. Sometimes I can go an entire shift with nothing else to do or anyone else talking to me or I can go non-stop with back-to-back requests. I try to make the most of my day by getting to know my co-workers, working on projects that I get from my sorority, following the news, and looking on social media for story ideas.

Some of my other job duties include answering the phones and helping CNN correspondent, Nick Valencia, get video to post to his social media accounts, chatting with "New Day" guest booker, Michael Figliola, and escorting high profile guests, like former Georgia Governor candidate Stacey Abrams, through CNN Center. 

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current job?

Currently, I am trying to learn how to associate produce for a show. I offer to write articles for the trends team and I post videos to CNN.com. We also edit on Adobe Premiere, which Newhouse taught me how to use. 

Newhouse opened my eyes to the world around me. I’ll never forget when Professor Simon Perez said, “You know one day you will not live in New Jersey. Will you be ok with that?” I now consider Atlanta my “adult home.” I love the culture, the people and the life style here. I have traveled all up and down the East Coast, through the South, Los Angeles, Detroit, Minneapolis, and New Orleans—just to name a few. That experience allows me to work with people from all walks of life at CNN.

At Newhouse, you learn how to report, anchor, produce, shoot video, and edit video. I was able to tailor my experience to both reporting and producing, because I knew that I wanted a job that incorporated aspects of both.

Some people know early on that they want to produce. Some people, including me, walk into the newsroom wanting to be a reporter, but life has other plans for them. However, if you have determination, motivation and a thick skin, you will find your place in any newsroom.

How did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you? What internships or volunteer opportunities did you do while at Newhouse?

The Career Development Center was helpful during my time at Newhouse and afterwards. I attended as many career seminars and résumé workshops as I could. I would sit in the office on the computer the staff would painstakingly help me edit my freelance/internship résumé down to one page. Even now when I go through our interview process at CNN, I send my updated resume Bridget Lichtinger to make sure any additions I made are ok.

While I was at Newhouse, I did every internship that I could get my hands on. I interned as a reporter with CNY Central in the fall. I interned at WCTV in Tallahassee over the winter break. I interned as a reporter with Spectrum News in the spring. I interned with WJET in Erie, Pennsylvania during my summer capstone in Washington, D.C. While I was freelancing at WABC-TV, I also interned as a reporter and shadowed Dray Clark, who now works at NBC 10 in Philadelphia, and I shadowed WABC reporter/anchor Toni Yates. 

I also learned as much as I could about producing from WABC executive producer and Newhouse alumni Peter Kunz, WABC producer and second Newhouse alumni Andy Savas, and WABC anchor Sandra Bookman.

What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field that students ought to be aware of?

I think one of the biggest misconception students have is that just because you go to Newhouse that you will get the same job or career as the person before you. While Newhouse will prepare you to take on nearly any job in a newsroom, there are other factors that come into play such as motivation, lifestyle, money, attitude, determination, and fit that students don't think of when first applying to jobs. You should be aware that not everyone will make it in journalism. Journalism is a competitive field that is not for everybody. Some people cannot handle working irregular and long hours, living far away from their family, being alone in a strange city, and/or the low starting wage. However, if you are in it for the right reasons, then you can’t find a better school than Newhouse.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students? Any classes or professors that you recommend?

I recommend Professor Barbara Fought. I had her for producing during the summer and she opened my eyes to an entirely different career and path in broadcast journalism. I also recommend Professor Suzanne Lysak. Even though I didn’t have Professor Lysak, she has been extremely supportive and helpful on my journey. There are many other professors, Lynne Adrine, Dona Hayes and Chris Tuohey, who helped me on my journey.