In 2016, Kristen Powers graduated from Newhouse with a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism. Through various work and academic experiences, she capitalized on the opportunities afforded by a Newhouse education.
“Without a doubt, Newhouse prepared me to land a job after graduation.”Kristen Powers, G’16
During her time as a graduate student, Powers interned with the ABC-affiliate news station in Syracuse and, over the winter break, interned with an entertainment host in Los Angeles. Additionally, she reported on the 2016 presidential election through a Newhouse political reporting class. Finally, she worked on campus as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate video production class.
After graduation, Powers worked for two years as a multimedia journalist and then fill-in anchor at the CBS/Fox affiliate in Bakersfield, California. Currently, Powers works as a reporter at ABC 7 in Washington D.C., primarily reporting for Good Morning Washington.
What’s an average day like for you on the job?
My average day has changed a lot now that I am working on a morning show versus working dayside. In Bakersfield, I turned a package every day, but in Washington I primarily go live. If I turn a package, they are usually more in-depth and I have more than a day to work on them, which I love. I am in the office by 3:30 a.m. and immediately start to prep my story. I do research, make sure I have all the elements I need, communicate to the producers what I’ll need for my hit, find video, etc. I’m out the door with a photographer before 4:30 a.m. I then go live in our 5, 6, 7 and 8 a.m. show. If there is breaking news, I will also do the 9, 11 and 12 [show]. After I am cleared from going live, I use the last few hours of my day to prep, find stories or go out and shoot a package. Although this schedule is usually the same, what I cover is different every day, so it keeps things exciting! I love that I get to learn something new every single day.
How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current job
Without a doubt, Newhouse prepared me to land a job after graduation. The program gave me more confidence in my abilities. Newhouse sharpened my shooting, writing, editing and presenting skills. I always say it was my first market, but better. Many news directors will agree with that statement. We were putting together stories on deadline, but at the same time we had guidance and someone to look over our work and help us improve/strive to get better.
Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspect of your field you may have not considered when applying?
The BDJ program largely focused on traditional news, but there are so many classes you can take within Newhouse that will open your eyes to other aspects of media. Two of my favorite examples are the virtual reality class and the trendspotting class I took. These classes not only helped me see other career options, but also gave me good ideas on creative ways I could tell a story. The industry continues to change, and Newhouse does a great job at making sure there are classes that reflect [those changes].
What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it in the first place?
This program is hands on and that was so important to me. From day one you hit the ground running! I didn’t want to learn how to be a reporter and anchor from a book, I wanted to go out and actually do it, receive constructive feedback, build a strong work ethic and hone my skills. Newhouse helped me do that.
What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field that students ought to be aware of?
I think a lot of people get into this field thinking it is all glamorous and relatively easy. Don’t get me wrong, there are glamorous moments, but the job will require a lot of hard work. Be prepared to work long hours, get sent out to breaking news at a moment’s notice, be outside in all sorts of elements, run around chasing a story and wear several hats.
I also believe many people come into this field thinking they need to be a certain way, when it comes to how you look, talk, tell a story, and the list goes on and on. Get that out of your head. Be yourself. This field is about connecting with people. Be authentic and let your unique personality shine!
What advice do you have for current or incoming students? Any classes or professors that you recommend?
Soak up as much as you can. Step out of your comfort zone. Be open. You may enter the program thinking you know exactly what you want to do but don’t let that stop you from trying something new. Go to as many speaker events and seminars as possible. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Ask questions. Take time to really connect with your professors and classmates. Utilize the amazing Newhouse network. Enjoy the journey.