Making it the best that you can: two former Editor-in-Chiefs share their advice

Chase McNamara (right) and Tony Langfellow (left) shared their journey from college journalism to their careers. Photos courtesy of Chase McNamara and Tony Lanfellow; photoshopped by Parker Buske

“Every expert was once a beginner,” is given credit to Helen Hayes, an American actress from the early twentieth century. Like Hayes, two former Editor-in-Chiefs of the University Chronicle reflect back on their time at our campus newspaper as the foundation of the learning that is still taking place in their careers today.

Chase McNamara, SCSU ’18, was Editor-in-Chief of the University Chronicle for the Fall 2018 semester. McNamara majored in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism, and a minor in Political Science. During his time at SCSU, the wrote for the University Chronicle from fall of 2017 until he graduated. In addition to his involvement in the newspaper, he also anchored for UTVS, the campus television station, for a year and a half.

McNamara currently works for WAOW in Wausau, Wis. WAOW is a part of the ABC News Network. He currently works as the producer for the morning show. As part of his daily routine, he utilizes the skills he started practicing at the University Chronicle and UTVS.

“Having a leadership role [at the University Chronicle] really helped to see how the big picture works,” said McNamara. “As a producer, I have my hands in every single story.”

McNamara commented on how fast-paced the TV world is, that while in college he would sometimes have a week to complete a story, today he needs to have a complete package done (if not multiple) every single day.

“Everyday is a new day,” said McNamara. “You have to drop what you learned yesterday and everything changes the next day. There is always something new. There is no working on stories for two days. When you are a reporter, you are doing day-turns.”

Offering advice to current students pursuing a job in Mass Communications, McNamara offered that the best skill to practice in college is time management.

“The most important thing is time management,” said McNamara. “It is understanding how to best maximize your time in a day. Everything in TV, everything in journalism in general, is all about the deadline. School is a great preparation for that. It is like having a project due everyday before you leave.”

Because news is so time-sensitive, it is imperative that journalists are cognizant about the language that is used. McNamara advised aspiring journalists to never speak in absolutes. Information develops every minute and it is more important to get the news correct than to get it quickly.

In the last few years, as he has continued to build his career, he noted that being able to grow from criticism has been absolutely vital. Criticism is unavoidable, and while everyone prefers constructive criticism, it is a great career move to turn every piece of criticism as a building block to become better.

Tony Langfellow, SCSU ’20, was Editor-in-Chief of the University Chronicle for the Spring 2020 semester. Langfellow majored in Mass Communications with a minor in Political Science. During his time at SCSU, he wrote for the University Chronicle from the fall of 2017 until he graduated. Among some staff at the University Chronicle, Langfellow is nicknamed the “Father of Print” because he made it his mission on the editorial team to start printing again.

In addition to writing for the University Chronicle, Langfellow was an anchor, reporter, and producer for UTVS, and was involved in KVSC, the campus radio station, hosting weekly Fridays at 4 p.m., and occasionally would write and DJ.

Langfellow currently works at WSAW in Wausau, Wis. He is currently working as a multimedia journalist and reports four days a week in the afternoon and anchors once a week.

Reflecting back on his time at SCSU, Langfellow commented how much real-life practice he was able to gain from his involvement in the University Chronicle, UTVS, and KVSC. Everyday on his job, he pitches stories, completes interviews, films for broadcast, and then writes up a version for to publish on the website.

“There is no way I would be able to be where I am at with writing right now if I didn’t have that experience from the newspaper,” said Langfellow. “It’s just that constant practice, the standard practice that we have to get a story out in a correct manner.”

Similar to McNamara, Langfellow suggested that aspiring journalists learn to manage their time and to get the most out of every experience.

“Don’t waste your time,” said Langfellow. “It may seem difficult writing one story a week, but just do it. When you are in the real world you have to do a story every single day. . . . You are going to thank yourself for writing those extra stories in college.”

Langfellow also commented that he is continuing to learn every single day on the job, but that it is part of the appeal.

“Make sure you know how to do EVERYTHING – whether it is video, writing, editing, using a camera (that’s important),” said Langfellow. “[You should] know how to do everything, be a jack of all trades.”

Like every other career, being a journalist is rewarding when you put your best in. Life is about receiving what you put into it. While news will never be perfect, Langfellow shares his motivation.

“Even though I am still learning and will be for the next ten years I’m sure,” said Langfellow. “Interview everybody that you need to, make it the best that you can.”

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Anna Panek

Anna is a junior at St. Cloud State University and is double majoring in Math Education and Spanish Education, with a minor in Special Education. She is the Managing Editor for the University Chronicle this year. When she is not at campus attending class, working as a learning assistant or math tutor, or writing for the University Chronicle, she enjoys volunteering, reading, being overly competitive at board games, and telling horribly funny puns.

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