Got my first job! Working as a meteorologist in Colorado


Name: Nicolette Sheaks ’17

Hometown: Miami Lakes, Florida

Degree/major: Atmospheric science and broadcast journalism

Where are you working? Title? KKCO/KJCT Grand Junction, Colorado Weekend Meteorologist/MMJ

How did you get your job? 
A week after graduation, I started working at WSVN in Miami as a writer. I spent the year learning about how a major market works. During my time with Channel 7, I was able to work with and shadow reporters and anchors. I learned so much by just observing the talent and by working behind the scenes. After a year as a writer, I got the job as a weekend meteorologist; I had to pack my bags and head to Western Colorado.

What was your greatest fear going into your first job, and how did you face it or overcome it?
When I first interviewed with WSVN for the writing position, I was so excited because Channel 7 is my dream station. I hope to end up back home soon! This time around, I was nervous about starting at a new station. I was across the country, away from my family and friends, and I was about to finally start my dream career. So, I guess I felt a lot of pressure, but after realizing that I worked hard for this job and was qualified for this position, my nerves calmed. I’m finally starting to get the hang of live TV!

What surprised you the most about your first job?
I was most surprised about how relaxed a newsroom is. In movies and television shows, they depict a hectic scene where everyone is yelling and scrambling. However, I quickly learned that’s not the case… well, for the most part (breaking news aside).

What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process?
For those looking for a job in TV news, I would just advise them to be patient. It can be really frustrating waiting for emails or phone calls, but just be ready to wait a while before you hear back from news directors! Another thing is to be ready to leave the city and head to a small town. It doesn’t matter how good you are on camera or how smart you are… major markets want experience. So, be ready to head out of the big town to get a couple years experience on camera before making your way back to the city.

What does a day on the job look like?
Every day is different, schedules are constantly being changed. One of the rough things about being in news is that you may be working late one day and then the very next day you have to be in the studio at 3 a.m.!

How does your job connect back to your coursework?
One thing that I was so thankful I learned in school was how to edit video. When you are getting ready to make your reel and send it out, no one is there to help you. Also, it’s good to know how to edit when starting as an MMJ because news directors like to know that you can do it all.

How has your transition from school to work? How do you balance your time?
I was actually finishing my broadcast journalism degree when I started working at Channel 7, so it was rough working overnight hours and heading to class. I never got a break after graduating with my first degree – I just threw myself into work.

What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far?
Getting to be on TV is the coolest part!