Words by Zoe Taylor
A group of CCNY journalism students got an up-close-and-personal look at Spectrum News NY1, New York City’s 24/7 news channel, last Thursday May 2. A panel of reporters and producers offered career advice and also stressed the importance of local reporting.
Following a tour of the newsroom, located in Chelsea in downtown Manhattan, the students listened to a panel discussion from staff members who work both in front of the camera and behind the scenes at NY1 and NY1 Noticias, the Spanish language channel. The speakers included Anthony Proia (director), Roberto Lacayo (Noticias director), Bob Hardt (political director) and on-air personalities Juan Manuel Benitez (Noticias anchor), Courtney Gross (political reporter), and Grace Rauh (political reporter). Each described how they got into journalism and eventually landed a job in the company.
Rauh noted that she used her connections. “Really your way to get your foot in the door is through the people that you know,” she advised.
The panel emphasized the urgency of local news, especially as many cities have been forced to cut back in this era of rising digital and social media and in the face of a decline in industry revenue. “You end up covering things that will actually affect people’s lives on a daily basis,” explained Gross, “so much more so than what’s happening in Washington.”
The professional journalists told stories of their immense devotion to the job and love of the work. They described sleeping in cars, standing in the frigid cold in the middle of winter, and running out late at night to cover a story while pregnant and exhausted. “You are ultimately a miner,” said Hardt. “[It means] going out and digging for something, bringing back a little nugget and bringing it to everyone else.”
For prospective journalists who hope to break into the industry, the panel offered words of wisdom. They emphasized hard work, determination, and enthusiasm in order to be successful in the field. Hardt summed up: “You have to break out of your comfort zone.”