Journalists offer advice to students at Spectrum News’ Women in Political Journalism panel


Christine Sanchez

The Spectrum News Austin headquarters is located in downtown Austin, near the University of Texas. Spectrum News has news stations in North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Texas and California.

Spectrum News Austin held an event for young women interested in careers in journalism on Thursday Sept. 26. The event included a tour of the newsroom and a panel discussion with employees at the Spectrum News station followed by a Q&A session with panelists and attendees.

The event started with a tour of the newsroom, where attendees could witness Spectrum News employees work on breaking news stories in real time. Employees edited videos, wrote stories, broadcast the weather, and were even live on air.

Among the panelists were Capitol Tonight Anchor Karina Kling, Capitol Tonight Reporter Kathryn Gisi, In Focus Texas host Nicole Cross, and Spectrum News Director Jennifer Dodd.

As an anchor, Kling is involved in broadcasting the news on the Spectrum TV station. Apart from working at Spectrum News, Kling also teaches journalism classes at Austin Community College.

Kathryn Gisi said her job as a reporter involves being able to work on-the-go. She said she often has to be ready to film or take photos at anytime, so she carries a bag with her camera and other necessities with her wherever she goes.

The other panelists then talked about the field of journalism and advice they had for up and coming journalists or those interested in studying journalism.

Nicole Cross said that her advice to young journalists is that they “have to be hungry.”

Cross has a background in psychology and says that she didn’t get into journalism until later in her career. She said she endured ageism as someone going back to school after already having experienced a totally different career.

Her final message for young journalists? “Don’t lose yourself,” Cross said, “I don’t want you to lose yourselves.”

Gisi agreed, citing how it’s important to be a human first and not get lost in your work because it can lead to burning out. Cross mentioned having seen coworkers develop mental health issues because of this.

Later, News Director Jennifer Dodd was asked how the current polarized political climate affects news reporting.

Without missing a beat, Dodd replied: “It doesn’t.”

She stressed the importance of remaining neutral and objective when reporting the news in order to keep an audience invested.

“The second the viewer knows your opinion, you’ve lost your audience,” Dodd said.

After the panel, attendees were able to speak to the panelists one-on-one and meet Shasta Gomez, Recruiting Director at Spectrum News Austin, and Diane Cox, HR Business Partner at Spectrum News Austin to learn more about the hiring process and internship opportunities.