By Amanda Rivera
On April 14th, 2020 Dr. Christine Redman-Waldeyer’s Introductory Class to Journalism class had an opportunity to sit down via Zoom with MSNBC news Anchor Dara Brown. The purpose of the Zoom meeting was to find out firsthand, how it is to be a journalist today and how she started.
February marked 20 years that Dara Brown started her career with MSNBC. What could these potential future journalists learn from her to make their mark?
With Covid-19 being the “topic of conversation” all around the world, this meeting was a breath a fresh air from that. Although some questions were geared towards that, students showed sparks of interest in what may lie in their future.
Dara Brown made her start at her High school in Wall Township New Jersey, being the newspaper’s coeditor. Her start was very early on and she appreciated how the newspaper was stating “I loved planning the layouts and having the stories fit…You were really part of the process and the decision making.”
Having a newspaper at PCCC shows young journalists how to show their hand in journalism and reporting. Brown made it a point to express her happiness of the school still having its very own newspaper to what she remembered so long ago. This made possible by Dr. Redman-Waldeyer, who advises the newspaper.
Brown had attended Journalism school at New York University for broadcasting journalism. She also received her Bachelor of Science in East Asian studies while at NYU and majored in Japanese.
As a child Dara Brown had a knack for performing and acting. She started very early on in the theatre performing. She did shows, after school specials, commercials, and professional shows in New York.
This is what kept her in New York working and going to school as she got older. Not only was she able to gain experience like performing, that would help her later on in life but also, study and pursue her career.
Although everyone experiences a speed bump or two in the process of pursuing their dreams.
Brown felt as though, when she graduated at the tender age of 21, that she still looked and sounded like a 16-year-old. Brown stated “nobody would have hired me as a reporter…
Nobody would have taken me seriously”.
As a result, Brown did more cable shows to build her resume. It was evident that building your resume when you want to be taken seriously as a journalist and/or reporter is very important. Especially, to Dara Brown.
There was a point, while she was building her resume that she would write and freelance. Brown also worked for Fox, NBC and also ABC’s Nightline show. All while she was doing this, she was still taking out time to still perform and go on tours.
One thing to learn from Brown’s experiences is to never lose sight of the goal and what you really want. Brown emphasized this by saying “I always kept journals and I never lost that love for hard news.”
As she started to find her way back to the hard-hitting news, she contacted some people she knew and got into MSNBC. She initially started with the MSNBC.com webcast team. This team would do live video headlines for MSNBC giving top news as it ran.
As Brown got into the news and started off with MSNBC, the internet started to soar. As a journalist, one must “get with the times,”so to speak.
Brown noted how times were changing. Even now how we look and get our news is very different. She joked “when we first started, we were lucky if we got 700 hits. Not for nothing, my daughter gets more on TikTok now.”
When she made her jump, it was from the internet to the cable side; she dabbled in just about everything to get her foot in the door.
When she was filling in for the morning on weekends, she did breaking news. Then she did overnights and hectic hours.
One thing that she stressed was how and when she delivered the news. How journalists have to go where the story is.
“I would love to say that this is a 9 to 5 job,” she joked adding, “There is nothing 9 to 5 about this unless you land yourself a nice little cushiony job … you go where the stories take you.”
It’s safe to say that being a journalist, like any hardcore career, is not easy. However, the journey, just like Dara Brown’s, is one filled with excitement.
Brown worked very hard to get where she is at and left the journalists of the future with things to look forward to on their own journeys.