We launched ROOSTERGNN Academy back in 2016. Only a few years later, our students are working at some of the most important media outlets, and we are so proud! Follow along and read all of our Alumni Spotlights here.
Katie Bandish, a graduate of Temple University, completed our Journalism, Photo and Video Internship and Mentoring Program in Havana and Trinidad, Cuba, during the summer of 2016. In Cuba, she trained under the mentorship of our Experts Benjamin Jones (The New York Times, News Week, CNN International) and Julio Muñoz (BBC, Huffington Post).
Since completing our program, Katie went on to intern at NBC News during her last semester of college, and right after graduation, got hired as a TV reporter in Springfield, Illinois for FOX and ABC. Currently, she is WJAC’s newest NBC Weekend Anchor in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Katie has some great advice to give, so let’s get right started!
RGNN: Why did you apply to the Journalism, Photo and Video Internship & Mentoring Program at RGNN Academy in Cuba back in 2017?
Katie Bandish: I applied to the Journalism, Photo and Video Internship & Mentoring Program at RGNN Academy in Cuba back in 2017 because I wanted to combine my passion for journalism with my passion for traveling. I was thrilled there was an opportunity to delve into a new culture and experience a hidden gem in the world. I found it to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip that would also enhance and build upon my journalism skills.
What are the three skills that you learned during your Internship & Mentoring Program at ROOSTERGNN that have been most useful in your career?
KB: Three skills I learned during my internship and mentoring program at ROOSTERGNN were: independence, framing photos, and stepping outside my comfort zone. I registered for this program knowing absolutely no one because I wanted to force myself to meet new people. I was able to practice my Spanish speaking skills and was able to independently conduct and write my interviews. A key skill in video and photography is framing and our mentors made sure that this was ingrained in our brains.
After RGNN, you went on to intern at NBC News, and then got a job at Fox and ABC News Channel, what was that like?
KB: After RGNN, I interned with the country’s 4th largest media market in Philadelphia at NBC10 for my last semester at college. I felt the skills I had learned from RGNN helped prepare me for a news setting as far as editorial meetings and pitches. My first year out of college I was a TV reporter in Springfield, Illinois for FOX and ABC. I was again able to transfer my skills of independence and curiosity to my job which helped me grow exponentially.
You are now WJAC’s newest NBC Weekend Anchor in Johnstown, PA., can you describe a typical day in your job?
KB: Currently, I am WJAC’s newest NBC Weekend Anchor in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. My day-to-day activities vary on a daily basis. Some days I’m out reporting on general assignments. For this, we start our morning gathering story ideas to pitch in our editorial meetings. Once our stories are assigned to us we go out and start making phone calls and try to set up interviews for our story. Then I pack up my equipment to shoot my own interviews. Next, I upload the videos and edit the footage and write my scripts. I then upload it online and go live for the newscast.
On days I anchor, I produce my entire show which means figuring out what’s the most important news to give to my audience and time out the shows. I then go live from the desk for all shows.
What would be the most important piece of advice you would give to young college students, looking to pursue a career in broadcast journalism?
KB: The most important piece of advice I would give to young college students, looking to pursue a career in broadcast journalism would be to believe in yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. In this industry, it’s especially hard to grow up watching the news and seeing it polished on-air by long-time journalism veterans. It’s okay to know that’s not how they all start out and this job is a craft you have to work at every single day. It’s a round-the-clock type job so be prepared to give up weekends and holidays and normal working hours. You pay your dues early on but it’s important to not lose sight of your end goal. I promise if you stick it out you’ll really see how tough of a person you are and how you can handle just about anything.
Most importantly give yourself time. You need time to build contacts, to know the stories your news director will like, to know how to work different software programs and more. Give yourself time.
Want to train under the mentorship of our prestigious Experts and Mentors? Check out our upcoming ROOSTERGNN Academy programs here!