How broadcast lab changed my career outlook

A look into my very first live shot. Photo via a screenshot of live shot.

Fritz Schemel prepares for his first live shot. Photo courtesy of Fritz Schemel.

Before stepping onto the fourth floor of the McCormick Foundation Center, I never could have imagined myself as a broadcast journalist. I’d always insisted that broadcast was unachievable and that I wouldn’t even like it.

But as we began preparing for our minute-long live shots about the Republican National Convention, I suddenly gained confidence. My mind shifted from cynicism to optimism. Practicing outside in the hallway, I wasn’t stumbling over my words. I had gotten my timing down.

So, when instructor Steve Ordower asked us who wanted to go first, I, with my newfound confidence, volunteered.

As my mic was placed on my chest, my nerves eased, and Ordower was already counting down.

My first live shot ever was beginning.

“I’m here outside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland,” I began. And then, for the next 60 seconds of my life, I killed it.

I barely stuttered, focused on the main elements of the story and wrapped up in perfect time. It may have had something to do with my love of politics. That certainly made the experience even better.

The broadcast lab forced me out of my comfort zone and into a field that was new to me. I thought about my future as a journalist. I had always been sort of cynical about my journalistic future, thinking of myself as a strictly print journalist. Knowing the current state of journalism, I knew it would be difficult to thrive in a field with only print skills, as so many instructors had told me.

After the broadcast lab, I realized I could be the versatile journalist who’s needed in the 21st century.

Following my live shot, I texted a friend at home and set up a political podcast and radio show for next year to enhance my broadcast skills and delve into the art.

The broadcast lab taught me that my journalistic limits aren’t even in sight, and that I need to continue to explore new types of journalism.

The next time I’m asked to go on camera, instead of responding with a hesitant “Maybe,” I’ll be answering with a resounding “Yes.”