Oct 28, 2016
Originally a broadcast, print, and online media major here at Florida Southern, Shannah Bober ’13 has gone on to great success as a news channel producer for WJHG News Channel 7 in her hometown of Vernon, Florida. We got the chance to talk with her about her accomplishments.
Why did you choose to attend Florida Southern?
My admissions counselor called me every week to see how I was doing, and to see if I had been accepted into the college I thought I wanted to go to. He was sweetly annoying about it. Finally I said yes to a Scholar's weekend. I fell in love with the campus and the faculty. More importantly, they offered what I need to make my dreams come true. It all honestly boiled down to one class being offered at FSC, photojournalism, which made me decide to go there. Best decision I ever made.
What was the communication major like for you at FSC?
Being a comm major was the absolute best! We're like a family. The classes are small and personal as are the student organizations. I believe the relationships I had with other students and with the professors in the communication department helped shape me into who I am.
What professors impacted you the most?
Every communication professor and I had some time of bond. They all knew who I was even if I had never taken a class with them. I have so many fond memories with Professor Bob Drake. He was my mentor at school and in life. I could come to him with anything and he'd help me. He was also the professor responsible for Interlachen, the yearbook, which I was in charge of for two years. I also have many great memories with Dr. Bradford, Professor Allen, Dr. Wuertz, Dr. Loh, Dr. Trice, and Professor Chris Novak. Each of these professors opened their doors to me and helped guide me to where I am now, with a few jokes and smiles along the way.
How do you believe FSC contributed to your success?
I believe FSC is the reason I'm in my dream job. I grew up in a small town where we still had to use dial up, even at school. I was very far behind on the learning curve when I arrived at FSC, and managed to graduate with honors. The classes, and even the student organizations, prepared me for real life experiences. What I was doing with my internship is what I'm in charge of now at my work. I got the job I have today because the world of news is changing and my general manager picked me out of the crowd because my major said broadcast, print, and online media. I would have just been another applicant without that.
What extracurriculars were you involved in?
I was involved with Interlachen all three and a half years I was in school. I was the photography editor for part of one year, and editor in chief for two years. I was able to produce two yearbooks on time and change the image of the crew who worked on them. I was also part of Wellness TV, Southern News Network, and a member of Lambda Pi Eta.
What inspired your career in producing?
Cameras had always fascinated me, but I realized I wanted to go into journalism when I toured the CNN building in Atlanta. Seeing a live show changed my life. After that I just had to be involved.
What do you like most about what you're doing now?
I love that I'm working with people who I grew up watching. I am learning first hand from people who inspired me when I was younger and they're making me a better producer.
What does a producer do during the day?
I stay busy. Right now I am the evening producer. I come in at 2 p.m. and work on our FCC paperwork for about 15 minutes before we do our afternoon teases for our night show. After those are done, we have a meeting about who is doing what stories for the day. The 6 p.m. is all local, so I work with the reporters and search through our press releases to determine what information benefits our viewers the most. I stack the show stories, build graphics, and assign anchor reads to each story. Then I write teases from our headline and bumps and approve reporter web stories. After the 6 p.m. show, I start to publish the stories to social media for our viewers and start building the 10 p.m. show. After the 10 p.m. show, I gather story ideas for the next day and put them in our assignments folder and finish whatever web work is left to do.
What are your plans going forward?
As much as I love producing, I don't plan on doing it forever. I want to eventually work my way up to being a news director for local news. No matter what the future holds for me, I know I will stay in a local news market because I believe local news matters to people, and you won't get those stories covered by a network station.
What have you learned in the field that's different from what you learned in your communications classes?
When I was studying at FSC, I focused on reporting and photography work because I thought that's what I wanted to do. I only produced one show in school and it was a disaster so I didn't think that was for me. Since getting out of college, I've become a producer and only have been sent out into the field a handful of times. Producing in a real newsroom is so different than a classroom and I love it.
Have you done any volunteer work through the news station?
Through the station, I help raise money for a number of different organizations. Our main focus as a station is Making Strides against Breast Cancer, a cause dear to me. I've also worked with the American Heart Association.
What advice would you give current students or young alumni who are interested in working in producing?
My advice to students and young alumni just getting out of college is don't give up. It took months for me to find a job in the news business. Keep looking, keep applying, and don’t be afraid to apply to places across the country. This is the time to really figure yourself and your dreams out, go on the adventure.