TV reporter urges students to build, retain contacts
Mar 16, 2022
Washington, D.C., reporter Megan Rivers speaks via Zoom.
This report is by Jayla Myers, Dallas Young and Jamia Bellamy
Claflin University graduate and Washington, D.C., television reporter Megan Rivers discussed her career and advised students on potential careers during a Feb. 22 session.
Rivers, a 2010 alumna who now reports for WUSA, channel 9, began by talking about what is happening at her job, what cool things she’s accomplished so far in her career and what she did to get to where she is.
She cited recent interviews, one with well-known DJ Quicksilver, who has worked with artist A-list celebrities such as Jay-Z and DJ Khalid. DJ Quicksilver recently opened a school for children who want to explore their creativity in music and sound.
“Everything is provided, all they have to do is show up,” Rivers said of the school.
She also referenced coverage of a news conference by the Washington, D.C., mayor on rising crime.
She found a unique aspect to the story by reporting on a man in attendance. His anti-crime story based on having spent three decades in prison for murder was incorporated into her report.
From there, Rivers focused on careers.
Hers began at Claflin.
She worked for a radio show for the homecoming parade and worked that into a job as a board operator. She worked there her entire time in college and had two jobs as a senior, one as an intern with WLTX-TV in Columbia. Since college, she has been a producer and reporter for TV stations in Columbia and Charleston.
You must always be on top of your game, she advised. There is no such thing as slacking or falling behind; people are counting on you. It will affect everyone. It’s a job not a hobby. You must be on your “A” game.
As to pitching yourself for an opportunity and getting assistance, Rivers said you cannot be unrealistic.
She told of a Claflin student she did not know reaching out to her to ask about writing a reference for an application to join the Delta sorority.
Rivers said she could not write a reference for someone she does not know. “Don’t ask a person you barely know to recommend you.”
Building real relationships by making contacts and retaining them, including with Claflin professors, she said.
“You have to work for it a little bit. You have to find out who those news directors are, find those emails, find those links," she said.
“It’s about how you go about it. Building relationships with people helps a lot,” Rivers said.
As to how to get a foot in the door on career opportunities, she said being shy can be your worst enemy.
It’s best to put your shyness aside and “go places and to events that broaden your confidence, push yourself out in the open,” Rivers said.
You must pitch yourself. That consists of getting to know good connections, nurturing, and forming relationships, getting a mentor, scheduling meetings, getting out there and searching for information yourself because that’s the only way you can get the job you want.
She urged students to be serious about internships; get started early and keep going.“Get aggressive finding internships!” Rivers said.