The February Alumni Connection Lindsey Reese-Class of 2009 Emmy-nominated television producer
In a world that often seems full of bad news, Lindsey Reese (‘09) gets to do what she loves — even though it sometimes involves that news. As a journalist, she is constantly finding new and creative ways to inform people about the events and issues that affect them and their way of life.
“Despite criticism of the media, I believe many in local news still have a passion to do that,” Reese said. “We want to deliver the facts and we want to tell stories that are memorable and moving.”
As a regional Emmy-nominated television producer, Reese said the past two years have forced professionals in her industry to adapt and change the way they deliver and cover local news.
“It’s pushed us to rethink our strategy and get creative,” she said. “In-person interviews have turned into zoom interviews. Anchors and meteorologists can deliver the news and weather from home. Social distancing and limited options make everything on a producer’s end a little harder. But thankfully, we’re reaching a point where my team is returning to the news studio.”
After Vanguard, Reese studied broadcast journalism at Boston University. During her time at BU, Reese studied abroad in Ireland and interned at the national broadcasting station RTÉ in Dublin.
“That was the first time I’d been in a newsroom, sat in editorial meetings and went on location with reporters while they were working on their stories,” she said. “It was eye-opening to see how much work went into a story that might only be a few minutes long. I think my biggest takeaway from that internship was seeing the editorial process. There were frank conversations about what the team thought was newsworthy and how the viewer is benefitting from it. That’s a large part of what happens in a newsroom throughout the day.”
Reese’s next journalism internship was with WHDH in Boston.
“I worked with a special projects producer who would help gather ideas, research and elements for reporter stories,” she said. “Both internships gave me a different viewpoint on how news gathering and production works. Those internships and my classes at BU gave me the basic skills and industry knowledge to prepare me for what was to come after graduation.”
But Reese said she quickly found that there is a lot you cannot learn until you’re on the job. And then you have to hit the ground running. She was hired as a local news producer at 40/29 News in Northwest Arkansas where she started out as a morning show writer and eventually began producing full newscasts.
“Within a year, I had produced every newscast at the station – morning, afternoon, and evening,” Reese said. “Working in a smaller TV market means you get more opportunities to learn, make mistakes and move-up. After a year I decided I was ready for the next challenge and transferred within my company, Hearst, to a larger TV news market.”
She moved to Kansas City, Mo. where she produced the morning weekend newscasts at KMBC.
“I pushed for more experience on the evening newscasts and worked my way to the top producing position,” she said. “I became the 10 p.m. news producer and I stayed at that position until I decided I was ready to apply to an even bigger TV market.
Reese moved back to Texas and took a producer job at NBC DFW.
“I worked on the weekend evening newscasts until I was promoted to the 10 p.m. producer position,” Reese said. “I’ve been the 10 p.m. producer at NBC DFW for roughly three years now.”
Reese said she has always had a passion for writing, which started at Vanguard.
“I wrote for the Vanguard Review and was editor-in-chief my junior and senior years,” she said. “I entered college knowing that I wanted to be a journalist. I chose to focus on broadcast journalism because it was a new challenge. I had to combine my writing skills with another medium: video and sound. Providing information is key for a journalist, but it’s also about telling a story and finding a voice that people can relate to and will listen to. I loved being able to use those other tools to elevate my story telling. I did consider becoming a TV news reporter, but found my skill set and personality were more geared toward news production. I enjoyed getting to make decisions on the content we share with our viewers and being the point-person who keeps things running behind the scenes.”
As a producer, Reese said she does a little bit of everything.
“We decide which stories reporters will cover, as well as which stories you will hear the anchor deliver during the news,” she said. “Producers write those stories and pick which video or graphic element will help viewers understand or connect to it. On top of that, you’re thinking of where you want your anchors to be on camera and communicating with another production team who helps bring your vision to life. When it’s show time, the producer is the key person making sure things go smoothly. If there’s an issue, you’re the person who makes the fast, troubleshooting decisions.”
Something Reese said she loves about the job: Every day is the same, but different.
“You have a set deadline and the same tools to craft your newscast,” she said. “But a million things change between the start of your shift and showtime. That’s the exciting part of the job.”
Being a TV producer is a demanding job, Reese said. And a person needs to be willing to work hard and most of all – love news.
“I will always suggest interning and networking as much as you can,” Reese said. “It’s a big industry, but also a small world. The contacts you develop over the years can play a key role in your career. I got my first job interview thanks to a contact I met through a professor.”
Her Vanguard education prepared her for the job by encouraging independence, which allowed her to develop more life skills that are useful for college and beyond, Reese said.
“For example, the [newspaper class didn’t fit into my senior schedule,” she said. “But I was able to continue working on the Vanguard Review through independent study. I had to meet my own deadlines and to learn how best to manage my time.”
Reese said she had teachers who pushed her to do better and supported her passions.
“I believe the learning and studying skills I picked up at Vanguard helped me a lot in college,” she said. “You don’t get as much one-on-one time with professors in some of the bigger classes you take freshman year. But I knew the best way I could learn and prepare for papers and exams, without the extra guidance.”
One of her favorite teachers was Carol Spain. “Everyone told me that she would be tough but fair,” Reese said. “That couldn’t have been truer.
I loved going to her English classes because I knew she would keep me and my classmates engaged. No slacking off allowed. I think that also trained me to contribute and speak up more in my college classes. I respected her and I also felt I could come to her for help, even when I was no longer in her class.”
Reese said she was lucky to find what she loved doing early on in life, but believes the fun of high school and college is discovering passions through different experiences.
“When I was a Vanguard student, I dreamed of writing for a big newspaper,” she said. “I never imagined I’d be doing my current job. In other words – there’s no rush. Enjoy the journey and make the most of the opportunities that are presented to you.”
Being nominated for three regional News Emmy Awards is a highlight of Reese’s career, she said, because the nominations come from other journalists.
“They recognized the hard work and care put into newscasts I was passionate about,” she said. “You never want to cover a tragedy, but when it happens people turn to you to answer their questions. You try your hardest to do that, while being respectful to all those impacted by the story. An Emmy nomination is a nod from other journalists, showing they respect and recognize the effort made to do that.”
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