School of Communication Alumnus Alex Britton Peterson is a Reporter/Anchor for ABC27 News in Harrisburg Alumni Profile
Meet Alex Britton Peterson
- Job Title & Employer
- Reporter/Fill-in Anchor, ABC27 News
- Broadcast Reporting
- College Activities
- The Globe, U-View
- York, Pa.
- High School
- Central York High School
- Now Living In
- Harrisburg, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Cars, dogs, Hollywood, pop culture, rollerblading, the outdoors, social media
"Point Park truly helped to show me just how multifaceted you need to be as a journalist in the 21st century; you don't just report anymore. No one does ... Point Park prepared me for the fast-paced, often rigorous and stressful world of news in endless ways."
Tell us about your career path since graduating from Point Park University.
After graduating from Point Park, I entered the TV world as a morning lifestyle show producer in Buffalo, N.Y. where I stayed for a year before landing my first reporting gig in Erie, Pa. This is an extremely competitive industry and I wasn't lucky right off the bat – I had to get my foot in the door somehow, some way, and Buffalo gave me that opportunity before bigger and better things came calling.
What are your key responsibilities as a reporter and anchor?
Research story ideas, pitch story ideas in daily afternoon editorial meetings and then start setting up interviews. I shoot the interviews and necessary b-roll video, I edit the video, I voice the story, and then deliver it live, every day. When I anchor, it's my job to read through the show and smooth out the scripts to fit my reading style, in addition to making sure the stories flow together, are updated and are easily understood by the average viewer. TV is all about simple, conversational words; nothing complicated or too scientific. You want to talk to your aunt, grandma or mom sitting on the couch ... what would you say to them?
In what ways did your college experience prepare you for professional success?
I remember distinctly not wanting to learn how to shoot and edit video in school, thinking I'd never need to know how. Boy was I wrong. Point Park truly helped to show me just how multifaceted you need to be as a journalist in the 21st century; you don't just report anymore. No one does. You need to turn a story in a matter of hours, with new video, new sound, new information – and it needs to look good, too. Point Park prepared me for the fast-paced, often rigorous and stressful world of news in endless ways.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Don't expect to make a lot of money early in your career, and be prepared to work very hard. You won't just have one story a day, you won't have tons of help and you won't be well-compensated. Journalism is a calling, a desire to want to inform others (your viewers) and hold a different set of others (the powerful, elite, politicians, etc.) accountable. You have to appreciate and value being informed yourself, so that you can let others know what's happening around them.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just that looking back, I remember being so overwhelmed having three or four days to complete a news story/package that was maybe two minutes long. Now, I am lucky if I have three hours from the time I get back to the station with raw video and interviews, until the time I am live at 11 p.m. My point in saying that is Point Park lays the groundwork of what is – at a minimum – going to be expected of you in the real world. It's up to you how much you take advantage of their resources and professional knowledge.