Being reporter not about glamour, TV’s Megan Rivers says
Mar 21, 2018
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Claflin alumna Megan Rivers and Dave MacQueen of Charleston’s WCIV-TV talk to Claflin University students about life, social media usage and professionalism. (Panther photo by Alexis D. Pipkins)
The life of a reporter is not glitz and glamour, says Megan Rivers of ABC News 4 in Charleston.
The 2010 Claflin graduate told a news conference with multimedia reporting students that she is “ugly until I have to be pretty.”
Rivers said she spends a lot of her time in a car going between the office and assignments. She works a lot of field assignments, so there is usually some type of alternate pair of shoes in her car.
Rivers stressed the importance of being prepared for anything. One minute she could be on her way to the office and the next her boss is calling, telling her she will be jumping on an airplane.
“No two days are ever the same,” Rivers said.
News reporters have to be able to be flexible and ready to take on anything, she said. Stories need to be told and it is the reporter’s job to tell them truthfully and creatively.
“A reporter must not let their personal opinion show,” Rivers said. “You can’t allow your opinion to get in the way of objectivity.”
A good reporter tells the story at hand, River said. That may mean he or she is in the middle of a huge storm or perhaps in a gown that evening for an important gala. You never know.
Reporters must also be aware of their responsibilities, she said. They are under a high amount of scrutiny and they must particularly aware of those responsibilities in use of social media.
River cited selfies, which have become a huge part of people’s daily lives. Taking selfies at a sensitive event can get reporters in big trouble.
For example, if a man was just killed in a car crash and his car was set on fire, it may not be the best idea to take a selfie at the scene that shows the car in which a man just died.
Rivers said reporters must always be aware and mindful of surroundings and what they say and do. “The mic is always hot.”
Rivers stressed the importance of composure.
In this digital age, there are cameras everywhere. A person never knows when he or she could be on camera, so always be ready and keep everything professional, she said.
Rivers said it is best to keep your social media accounts clean and open to the public. Try to stay away from publishing anything offensive or unprofessional.
“As a journalist, you check your opinion at the door,” Rivers said.
And keep an open mind about assignments and the job, Rivers said. Remember the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover. Your next story could be staring you right in the face.
Rivers was accompanied at her Claflin presentation on Feb. 20 by WCIV Assistant News Director Dave MacQueen.
He echoed many of Rivers’ assessments of daily life in the field of journalism.
“This is a thankless job many times with limited feedback,” MacQueen said. “Not a job if you’re trying to become famous.”
MacQueen emphasized the importance of how news crews must be prepared at a moment’s notice. They must be sensitive and objective while reporting.
“Check your emotions at the door, no matter if you disagree or not,” MacQueen said. “Being considerate of the situation is key while on the job you have to be mindful of the big picture.”
Elijah Mckinnis contributed to this report.