Robert Elmore, the Vice President and News Director at Eyewitness News KABC, visited USC Annenberg on February 22nd to share some insight on working in a newsroom and the future of journalism in America.
The event, organized by Annenberg’s Career Development office, is part of their ongoing Lunch with Leaders series.
As Vice President and News Director, Elmore is the chief journalist at KABC and responsible for deciding which news gets broadcast on KABC’s broadcast, digital, and social media outlets. He emphasized the great care he takes with this job, making sure that the news released is relevant and accurate.
“When our audience is watching television or on social media, I want to make sure that when they see the circle seven logo on the screen, they understand that the information presented is vetted news that is confirmed,” he said.
During the event, Elmore discussed the importance of speaking out and expressing career goals as a student, using an example from his own life. During his freshman year of college, Elmore enrolled in a public speaking class. The professor asked the students to discuss their career goals and Elmore spoke up, stating that he hoped to become a news reporter. After class, a young woman approached him and was able to get him an interview with the news director at a local radio station. In the end, Elmore got the job.
“If I had not spoken up and expressed myself, I would not have known about this opportunity. By speaking up, I got my first job in broadcasting at a radio station. It all happened because I spoke up in class,” he said.
Elmore also discussed what it’s like to work for KABC andt the great environment ABC and Disney have provided.
“The great thing that I have always loved about working in newsrooms is that there’s a group of smart, opinionate, and knowledgeable people all together in the same room working together so it is never dull,” he said.
Elmore described a typical day in the newsroom. From the moment he wakes up at 5 a.m. to the moment he leaves the office at 11:20 p.m., Elmore is working on the daily news for Los Angeles. Throughout the day, he has multiple meetings discussing and deviating what the news is in Los Angeles.
Recently, President Donald Trump attacked mainstream media, calling major news media outlets “fake news,” “the most dishonest human beings on earth,” and refusing certain media access to the White House daily press briefings. In relation to the current tension between the media and the government, Elmore offered important advice to journalism students: do not be discouraged.
“Don't be discouraged about what is being heard in Washington about the media because I think reporters are more needed now than ever and don’t be discouraged about job prospects because there are tremendous opportunities out there more so than ever,” he said.
Elmore ended on a positive note, describing the various opportunities available to students to practice journalism. Despite the tension towards the media,there are still various opportunities for students.
“Students need to be flexible and find out what works for them to determine what role they play for the future,” Elmore said.