Interview with Kimberlee Rohrer
GC Graduation Year
Why or how did you choose your field? Were there specific experiences that influenced you?
I always knew I wanted to do something in film or TV. I did a lot of job shadowing at TV stations in Cleveland when I was younger and fell in love with the energy that surrounds the newsroom. However, it wasn’t until I started my internship at Fox28, that I started to really enjoying being behind the scenes. I think it has a lot to do with my personality: I’m a control freak, I work well under pressure, and I’m a procrastinator.
What’s exciting about your job or field?
What’s not exciting? I love breaking news and deadlines. There’s a certain feeling during a show where everything is changing and breaking and everyone is on edge, but yet the show is clean… it’s like hitting that home run in the bottom of the ninth for the come from behind win. But it doesn’t always have to be like that, there are funny moments, touching stories and great teases; they all make me fall in love with my job every day. Plus, I’ve gotten to be on the sidelines and in the locker room at NFL games, meet my favorite celebrities and artists, be among some of the best known journalists at the DNC, and even field produce at American Idol auditions. I feel like that’s all just a taste of what makes my job so great.
What has been a challenge in your career journey?
There are rarely (and I mean, rarely) “normal” hours in news. Personally, I’ve worked overnights for five years now, and even those hours have not been consistent. There are also no holidays in news, and no vacations during sweeps months (February, May, July and November).
There are a lot of politics within the industry, something that I am still learning how to work with every day. It may not seem like a big deal, but that has honestly been my biggest challenge.
And last, the news industry is going through some big changes right now. There are lots of cuts, buyouts, merging of stations; it’s not pretty. I’ve seen dozens of people let go in one day, taken furlough, and been through a lot of management changes for my short career. People have to take on more work, for a lot less. Photos don’t just shoot anymore; they write packages and report, MMJ’s (multi- media journalists) are becoming the norm.
Looking back, would you do anything differently?
I would have done more editing. I did a lot of basic editing and shooting and reporting at Goshen and in the beginning of my career, but as this industry changes, editing is the one thing that I have really had to re-learn.
How did your liberal arts education assist you in your journey?
News isn’t contained to one major. I’m so glad that I have an education in more than writing and shooting video. I can’t even explain how knowledge in history, other languages and cultures, psychology, etc. has helped give me an edge on understanding subjects in scripts that I write, and in turn to write them better for the viewer.
Did anyone offer you some memorable advice that you’d like to pass on? Or…what advice would you give to a young person just starting out?
First and most important, networking is key in this business.
Second, this is not an easy career. In fact, most people around me would say “get out now.” But if you love it, and work hard… it can be so much fun. But remember, this is a new phase in life. Where you go next needs to be earned, and you will need to prove every day that you still deserve it. You will have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Buckle up… it’s going to be a bumpy ride.