Courtesy of Catherine Anaya

Stepping outside the box

For more than 25 years, whenever I was asked why I became a broadcast journalist I’d jokingly answer: “Because I can’t do anything else.”

Truth is, I’ve discovered there is plenty I can do with the skills I’ve developed through my years as a television news anchor and reporter.

This past summer I left my television news career to focus on my family. Though, I knew when I made the decision I wouldn’t completely stop working. It’s in my DNA. The more I thought about what my next career chapter might include, the more I realized the sky is the limit. As a professional, learning to think outside the box has afforded me the freedom to continue to do the work I love, but at a pace that works for my family. I walked away from the anchor desk but I didn’t walk away from all the roles that came with being a broadcast journalist. 

I started a media company, 4Hearts Media. It’s a hub, of sorts, for the skills I brought to my career in news: speaking, emceeing, hosting, video storytelling, writing, media training, voice-over and blogging. I share this because as daunting as it might seem at first to walk away from something we know and love so much, it’s also exciting to be able to use our experience to continue making a difference in the community. 

For example, I’ve partnered with a video production team to provide the visual and emotional “story” behind the work many nonprofits and companies do. Everyone has a story, so being able to tell theirs — just as I might for a newscast — is a win-win situation. I get to continue telling impactful stories and the client has a visual story about who they are and what they do that they can then use to help market their business or develop more financial support. 

For students preparing for the working world, I think it’s also important that they know their skills carry value beyond just what they do in front of the camera. Not everyone can be as comfortable in front of a microphone or camera, or write clearly and concisely as someone with a communication/journalism background. These are coveted skills. With social media being such an integral part of our daily lives, our journalists of tomorrow are now able to reach a wide and varied audience via multiple platforms that can include everything from a successful blog to a regularly viewed YouTube channel. 

I do have moments when I miss the adrenaline of breaking news or the rush of meeting a deadline. But I’ve discovered that the creativity that comes from carving a new career for myself can be equally addicting.