Alumni Q&A: Kristen Conner, Anchor and Reporter for WHNT News 19

IMG_9197Kristen Conner is an anchor/reporter for WHNT News 19 in northern Alabama. In 2017, she received the Edward R. Murrow Award for her work on the 30 min. documentary A Rescue Mission. She graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a B.A. in Communications and Journalism and a Minor in Political Science. You can follow Conner on Twitter at KConnerWHNT

Can you describe your job at WHNT News 19 and what you do on a day-to-day basis?

As Sunday anchor, I am part of a weekend team with limited supervision and a smaller staff. I act as a manager often, assigning reporters stories and sending out crews on the news of the day as it breaks.

My typical day in this role begins in the afternoon. I come in, work with the producer to read through the shows, make suggestions as needed, and research stories and make calls in order to decide how to handle news happening throughout the day. Then, I get up in the chair and anchor the show with the meteorologist and sports anchor. We typically do two shows on Sundays.

During the week, I shift back into a reporter role. I come into the afternoon meeting with researched and vetted pitch ideas. After I’m assigned, I’ll grab my gear and head out.

As a multimedia journalist, I set up, shoot, interview, write, edit and then present my own stories on multiple deadlines. We have a 4pm, 6pm and 10 p.m. newscast. It’s a busy day, but you’re always doing something different, new, and often exciting!

Watch Conner’s Story: Tennessee Valley Marvel fans react to death of Stan Lee

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Student Spotlight: Mavish Khan – From Biology to Broadcasting

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Mavish Kahn outside of the White House for her On-Camera Field Reporting course.

By Lauren Kubiak

Mavish Khan spent her first few years at Rowan University exploring different career paths. She started as a biology major, but quickly realized it wasn’t for her. Next, she followed the influence of her father and switched to accounting.

But it was through extracurricular activities like The Whit, Rowan Television Network, and Rowan Radio, that Khan found her real passion: journalism.

Khan, a 21-year-old senior from Cherry Hill, will graduate in May with a major in journalism, a minor in political science, and a specialization in international studies. Khan said that the journalism courses have taught her to work across different media platforms, but also challenged her to take risks.

“This is a changing field and if anything, we should experiment with telling stories using technology we have never used,” she said.

She has also built an impressive resume of internships in production at SNJ Today, in communications at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, and as a junior reporter for Fox 29. After graduating, Khan hopes to work for an online media company, behind the scenes on a TV set, or any job that will allow her to travel.

“In the end I want to be telling stories that really make people think and bring awareness to things going on in the world,” said Khan.

Rowan Journalism students gain political reporting experience covering DNC

By Catherine DeMuroimg_5245-copy

This summer, Rowan University journalism students covered four days of protests, press conferences, speeches and media madness at the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia.

For Matt Kass, a journalism major and political science minor, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

“For almost my entire life I’ve been interested in politics,” said Kass. “Being involved in any way, shape or form with either major party convention was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

The event was the culmination of a three-week summer course taught by Rowan journalism professors Kathryn Quigley and Mark Berkey-Gerard, who both covered presidential conventions in the past.

In the weeks leading up to the event, students studied past conventions and honed their reporting, writing and multimedia skills.

From July 25-28, the students worked 12 hour days covering the DNC at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and at the Wells Fargo Center. Student reported via social media, shot photo and video footage, filed stories for their website RowanU DNC News, and learned by working side-by-side with professional reporters in the media tent.

“Part of the experience of covering a convention is seeing how reporters do their work,” said Berkey-Gerard. “It gives students a new perspective on what they study in class.”

A half-a-dozen student stories were also published in The Courier Post, a Gannett newspaper in southern New Jersey and part of the USA Today network, which gave the reporting wider exposure.

For Cierra Lewis, 21-year-old journalism major, the highlight was her 15 minutes of fame — or in today’s terms — her 50,000 views on Snapchat.

“It was pretty awesome having my video make it to the DNC Snapchat story,” said Lewis. “Over 50,000 people viewed my snap of protesters as they occupied the media tent after Bernie [Sanders] conceded.”

Lewis also covered several street protests and an impromptu press conference conducted by Danny Glover, Rosario Dawson, Shailene Woodley and Susan Sarandon.

“It was so exciting, and I became more confident in my writing abilities,” said Lewis. “It helped me face my rejection fear because people would turn me down when I asked for an interview, but it just made me better.”