Relationships and what people say about you matter, D.C. reporter says
Sep 27, 2021
TV reporter and Claflin alum Megan Rivers speaks on Sept. 14.
Washington, D.C., television reporter Megan Rivers addressed Panther reporters on her experiences in journalism and success in the field.
Speaking via Zoom on Sept. 14, the WUSA-TV reporter and 2010 Claflin graduate stressed the importance of building relationships and maintaining them. She said internships are vital to getting started in the field while students are in college.
“We live in an age sometimes where we don’t really value relationships and people are very quick to cut people off or not see the value long term in maintaining healthy relationships,” Rivers said. “But it really matters.”
Rivers explained how she was able to use a former professor, who is also a working journalist, as a job reference. “For him to allow me to use his name as a reference means the world to me and that really matters.”
She stressed that the world of journalism and media as a whole is very small, which is why connecting with people as often as possible is important.
Rivers said that in her senior year of college, she interned at the CBS television affiliate in Columbia, News 19 WLTX. Over the years, she maintained the relationships she had, stopping by the station whenever she was in town and keeping up with them on social media.
As a result, 3-1/2 years later, she was given her first opportunity to work in journalism with WLTX.
“The impact that you make on a person matters,” Rivers said. “She (Marybeth Jacoby, news director for WLTX at the time) could've called any of her former interns or current interns, but she called me.”
Rivers said that aspiring journalists should actively seek conferences such as ones held by the National Association of Black Journalists in order to network with professionals in the field.
She said the connections made there could lead to internships, job opportunities and potential mentors.
Rivers’ advice to all journalists trying to get their foot in the professional door: “You gotta talk to people, you have to keep in contact with people, you have to build relationships with people so that they see you and trust you and they don’t mind putting their name on you.”
She advised students to take advantage of opportunities available to them at Claflin. Being at a small school is not an obstacle to gaining experience. “Work your behind off.”
Rivers, who was also a TV reporter in Charleston before moving to D.C., said she sees her job much as a mission.
Being a news reporter is not about the vanity or the minuscule levels of fame, she said. It’s about “being a voice to those who feel like they’re voiceless.”
“It’s about the stories I can tell and the voices I can amplify. So many people feel like they have stories to tell, and they don’t know how to tell them, or they can’t get their message out and me being a vessel for that is really rewarding for me,” Rivers said.