CBS’s Dick Brennan gives colloquial perspective of being a journalist

Dick Brennan CBS Reporter visits a Hofstra Univeristy classroom to talk to prospective journalism students.

photo credit: Christal Roberts

Advice from Brennan:

“Don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications if you don’t know a story.”

“Always come prepared with camera and questions.”

“Make dumb connections. The business of ‘why not me’ is not relevant.”

“Half of life is just showing up.”

“Triple check everything. Two things: read out loud and read backwards. Check every dumb little fact.”

Students ask questions: 12:11pm-12:32pm

Q. “Number one piece of advice to students?” A. “Internships, internships, and internships. Dress better, remember names, and know who people are.”

Q. “What kind of stories did they put you on first before you broke out?” A. “The first three stories I covered were  Victoria Secret runways.”

Q. “What is something you wish someone would have told you about the field when you were our age?” A. “I don’t have this connection or that equipment etc. I wish someone would have told me it doesn’t matter.” 

Q. “What was your first internship?” A. “It was at WMCA radio station. It was the best job I’ve ever had.”

Q. What is the hardest part of broadcasting now? A. “The deadlines are tighter. More shows to be on. Expected to broadcast more.”

“Sometimes the best social media is just remembering a name.” Brennan refers to integration with social media as “invaluable” to the journalism field 12:09 pm.

“You want great journalism? Knock on one more door.” Brennan emphasizes the need for aggressive journalism to produce a good story. “Grab the story by the lapels and drag it by you” 12:05 pm.

Journalists have to handle tough stories. Brennan shows video of his coverage of LIPA’s failed restoration after Sandy as well as their no-show press conference 12:02 am.

Which elements are the most important to a news story? Brennan says it changes with every story. Sometimes it’s better to start with audio; other times the picture is the most important part 11:49 am.

“All people care about it story, story, story. They don’t care about the budget, they want a story.” A strong focus of a news story is the writing of it. Deadlines are now so you must think of what you want your story to be as you film the story 11: 44 am.

Brennan describes the ins and outs of creating a successful news package. “The hardest part of a piece is the beginning and the end. You need something powerful or humorous to keep you interested until the end.” Shows news package of Hurricane Sandy where he focused on a small child that had no heat or water in her apartment 11:40 am.

Conversation makes a switches to politics. Brennan uses media coverage of the debate to exemplify how every word and action of those in the public’s eye is under scrutiny 11:33 am.

Uses his interview with Denzel Washington to show how tough questions can render harsh remarks. “My job is to tell the story in a way that people can understand. I’m not partisan. I just want to challenge them and see what they say” 11:27 am.

Brennan talks about his experiences as a reporter. Shows his interview with Michael Moore and what happens behind the aired interview 11:21 am.

“I get a a minute and thirty normally. So having an hour and half to speak to you is crazy.” Reporter Dick Brennan introduces himself to Hofstra University students 11:18 am.


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