Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?
Eleanor Terrett entered her career as a television producer the summer before her senior year of college. She enjoyed the experience so much, she opted to attend class at her alma mater in Virginia during the week, while spending her weekends working in Manhattan. Her persistence led to her landing her first position at Fox Business as a green room production assistant, where she directed guests to hair and makeup in between printing scripts and running them to the studio. Fast forward three years, and Eleanor is now the Fox Business New York Stock Exchange producer, where she works with market reporters to write and produce segments directly from the NYSE trading floor.
Producing for a business network differs greatly from general news network production. Relaying correct information that’s relatable to viewers’ daily lives and is easy to understand can be a challenge, and this is where Eleanor comes in. “My job as a producer and writer is to frame the information in a way that’s both clear and interesting,” says Terrett. The connections and experience one builds from this job far outweighs the challenges. One of the most rewarding elements of the job for Terrett, who spends her days amongst NYSE traders and industry experts: “On any given day, there’s at least one CEO, world leader, or simply interesting human who I’m able to shake hands and have a conversation with. There’s truly never a dull day.”
Q: Social media has upended the traditional media landscape. One of the great challenges it creates is authenticity and malevolent actors. How do think journalists and reporters should deal with the rising tide of misinformation?
ET: I think knowing your sources is always a good place to start. While Twitter is excellent for fast information, it can be difficult to verify sources, which increases the risk of misinformation. Young journalists should start building up a solid base of sources early on so they always have someone to turn to for reliable information.
Q: What do you think about the role of technology in journalism? Is it helpful? harmful? Something in between?
ET: I think technology has only helped our industry. Smart phones and laptops act as portable newsrooms, Twitter is essentially a live news wire, and streaming provides access to information around the clock, from all over the world. I think technology has proved itself an indispensable part of the media industry, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s allowed us to keep networks on the air remotely for the majority of 2020. I’m able to produce market news from my dining room table, which is currently doubling as a mini news room, all thanks to technology.
Q: What gives you hope for the future of journalism?
ET: It’s the level of passion so many journalists have for their profession, as well as the fact that the industry is still generating interest, that gives me hope for the future of journalism. When I was in college, I would constantly hear that broadcast journalism is a dying industry that has no hope of surviving the digital wave. Cable networks like Fox News and CNN would soon be replaced by smaller digital platforms that cater to the short attention spans of Millennials and Gen-Z’s. It was comments like this that would discourage people like me who really wanted a career in broadcast journalism. But 5 years later, all forms of journalism, even print (which my parents were told was a dying industry when they were in college), are still going strong. I’m hopeful that those people who still really want to be a part of it will carry our industry through uncertain times.
Q: What learnings have made a tremendous difference in your career that you would share with aspiring young writers and reporters?
ET: Go above and beyond every single time, even if it means sacrifice in the beginning. Sacrificed sleep, social life and comfort zones are all small prices to pay for a successful career where people take you seriously. And if you really want something, go for it and make it happen. Be able to admit when you’re wrong and never try to put the blame on others. Be early for everything and be as prepared as you can going into any situation. Research your subjects beforehand. Take the time to learn people’s names. Ask questions, even if they sound stupid to you.
Q: Where do you get YOUR news from? Which publications do you like to read?
ET: Fox Business, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, AP, Reuters, Twitter, Axios