At Lyndhurst High School, Kristina DeRobertis was interested in becoming a news reporter. But self-doubt deterred her from pursuing a career in television. It was not until her sophomore year at Rutgers University-New Brunswick that she decided to pursue the Journalism and Media Studies major and the Digital Communication, Information, and Media (DCIM) minor. Through SC&I, she learned from JMS faculty and became involved in student organizations, and over time DeRobertis built up the confidence she needed to become comfortable in front of a camera.
Now as a television reporter at WBOC-TV, a Delaware news station, DeRobertis reflects on her SC&I experiences and discusses her life as a reporter.
SC&I: What does your daily life as a reporter look like?
KD: I am a reporter for WBOC-TV based out of Dover, Delaware. I love my job because I get to cover a new story everyday, so I never get bored. I also meet tons of amazing people along the way. A typical day for a reporter all starts with a good story pitch. If one of my pitches is approved by the news director, I head out on the story. My job as a reporter is to find out what's going on and what people want and need to know about it. Some stories require public opinion from community locals while others require professional opinions or comments from state officials. Either way, I must find these people and interview them. After collecting interviews and taking as much video as possible for my story, I then begin writing my script. Once the script has been approved, I record a track and edit a news package together. If the story requires me to be live on the scene I head out to the location and prepare what I want to say. Then, it's showtime.
SC&I: What made you decide to become a reporter and study JMS?
KD: I knew I wanted to be a news reporter before I was even in high school. But, going into college, I was undecided despite my dream of being a journalist. I think I doubted myself and did not have enough confidence to go for it at first. Seeing the success of Rutgers SC&I alumni gave me the confidence to pursue that dream.
SC&I: How has SC&I given you the confidence to pursue your dream?
KD: Studying at SC&I prepared me for this role in so many ways. Many SC&I professors have years of experience in the industry, so they are able to truly replicate the real-world in the classroom. This challenged me but also gave me skills I would not have obtained elsewhere.
SC&I: What classes or professors left an impact on you?
KD: I still go over my notes from Broadcast Writing and Reporting with WRSU Broadcast Administrator Mike Pavlichko. Writing for broadcast is very different from writing academic papers. The goal is to be as clear, concise, and conversational as possible. I learned it's harder than it sounds. I am so glad I was able to practice this skill while studying at SC&I because the producers at WBOC asked me to do it my first week. But, because of SC&I I was ready. One of my other favorite journalism classes was Television Reporting with Professor of Professional Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies Steve Miller. In this class I was able to use professional equipment to create a news package, something I do every single day now.
SC&I: What experiences outside of the classroom empowered you?
KD: I worked with the Rutgers production crew, R Vision, broadcasting live sporting events for BigTen Plus. I learned so much about cameras and production working with that crew. R Vision gave me great hands-on experience and taught me skills that are necessary for a career in television.
I also interned at SportsNet New York (SNY) prior to graduation. There I was able to learn about production, programming, and marketing over a four-month span. My managers encouraged me to explore all departments of the network, allowing me to make lots of connections with people in the industry.
SC&I: What advice would you give current JMS students?
KD: My best advice for other students is to go to office hours! Talking with your professors is how you can get the most out of your college experience. It's easy to focus just on grades and getting assignments done on time but consider how the opportunities in front of you could help you develop the skills to live out your dream.
Learn more about the Journalism and Media Studies major and the Digital Communication, Information, and Media (DCIM) minor at the Rutgers School of Communication on the website.
To keep up with DeRobertis follow her here.