Sunday, February 25, 2007

Q and A With Former KTHV Anchor/Reporter NOW CNN Anchor

Arkansas TV News would like to thank former KTHV anchor/reporter NOW CNN weekend anchor/reporter TJ Holmes for taking the time to respond to a handful of questions sent to him about his new career at CNN:

> Tell me a little about your background in broadcasting.

I have a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Arkansas . My first job out of college was at the NBC affiliate station (KSN) in

Joplin, Missouri. I was there for 9 months. I was a producer, reporter, and weekend anchor. From there, I went to the CBS affiliate (KTHV) in Little Rock , Arkansas . I was there for three years. I served as weekend anchor/reporter there. From Little Rock , I was hired to be the 5 p.m., M-F anchor at the NBC O&O (KNTV) in San Francisco . I spent three years there before being hired as the weekend morning anchor at CNN.

> How does working at CNN compare to working at the local news level?

One major difference is resources. CNN can do just about anything, anywhere, at any time. A major news network like CNN has more money, people and resources that a local affiliate simply can’t compete with. So, you have the ability to do a lot more. Also, the news is different. Of course, local news has a much smaller area to cover. CNN, on the other hand, covers the world. You cover everything at CNN. So, you have to be well read and knowledgeable about a whole lot more.

Of course, there’s not as much structure to a newscast at CNN as you would find on a local level. In local news, you often have a half hour show that is scripted and for the most part, doesn’t have as great of a potential to change as a newscast at CNN. At CNN, everything changes during the course of a newscast. News breaks all over the world and you have to be ready to handle it. It keeps you on your toes, and it is one of the best parts of the job. Also, you have a lot of live interviews during a CNN newscast which also adds to that unscripted nature of a CNN newscast.
There are tons of other differences, but these are a few that stand out.

> What challenges have you faced so far at CNN?

One of my first challenges was simply getting over the hump, so to speak. Coming from local news, it can be a bit intimidating to make the move to a network-level job. So, the first challenge was simply getting that first newscast at CNN under my belt.

> Some tend to think that since you’re an anchor, that’s all you do … sit there and read the teleprompter for hours. What does the job of a CNN anchor entail?

I know people think of anchors as “reading the prompter”, but at CNN, a lot of our time on the news set is spent not reading, but ad-libbing. A lot of a CNN newscast is unscripted because breaking news happens or interviews are added, etc. Every CNN anchor also reports. We go out in the field. Of course, it’s not on a daily basis, like the field correspondents, but anchors do plenty of reporting.

Also, there are so many challenges and demands on CNN anchors that take you outside of the newsroom. We have responsibilities to the community.

Community groups and organizations often call on us to lend a hand in some way. We often serve as guest speakers, panelist or emcee events.

Many anchors serve on community boards as well.

> For those still working their way to the big time, what advice would you give them to help them along the way?

I always tell people to make up their mind that broadcast news is what they want to do, and make up your mind early. It could be tough and frustrating when you first start out in this business. There are a lot of people out there competing for limited jobs in this business. So, you might not land that great job immediately. Or, your career in broadcast news might not progress as quickly as you thought it might. I have seen so many friends and former classmates drop out of the business because their careers didn’t progress like they thought they might, and they quit. So, these people have spent 4 or 5 years in college and then a few years in broadcast news, only to quit. I recommend people commit to it, realize that it may be tough, and hopefully, it will work out.

Be yourself. People often try to emulate others they see on TV. It’s perfectly fine to study others in the industry, but people often lose some of their own individuality. A news director can find plenty of potential employees who are just like everybody else. But if you can simply be yourself, you stand out because there is nobody out there who is just li
ke you.

33 Comments:

At 4:07 PM, February 26, 2007, Anonymous an observer said...

TJ was a class act when he was here and is doing a great job for CNN. Congrats TJ!!!

 
At 4:23 PM, February 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i always figured porn would be the next logical step for tj.

but cnn will do.

 
At 11:02 AM, February 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Steele still brags about not hiring TJ.

 
At 5:58 PM, February 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry Audas told him he wasn't good enough for Little Rock, then 3 years later hires Dawn Scott? Looks like ol' see through hair "AWWWWWWWWWW"
sucks at spotting talent.

 
At 8:28 PM, February 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TJ is a good guy and great at what he does.

I enjoy watching him on CNN. Keep it up TJ.

 
At 9:04 PM, February 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he's still "bragging," it's probably because it still haunts him.

 
At 12:24 PM, February 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He is one of the worst breaking news journalist on CNN. He doesn't know a lot of times what he is talking about during breaking news events.

 
At 6:56 PM, February 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he's still "bragging," it's probably because it still haunts him.

Actually Bob wanted to hire him. It got shot down by the corner office.

 
At 10:05 AM, March 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that...no black males @ Circle 7 since Norris Deajon....things that make yo go, hmmmmm?

 
At 11:39 AM, March 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why aren't there any black anchors on Channel 7 during the week. With the exception of Munoz (person of color), there has been a blonde-haired, blue-eyed nostalgia with the women there. I am new here and I am just asking. Somebody told me there has never been a person of color in sports neither...why is that??? I am not trying to be sinical, I am honestly asking.

 
At 4:18 PM, March 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 11:39 poster

Watch Channel 7 on the weekend.

Pam Smith anchors the weekend news after watching and meeting her I figured out why they may shy away from people of color. She has only caused problems at that station.
Like a dog, she will not leave!!

 
At 4:54 PM, March 03, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4.18 You're an idiot! Pam has done the job she has been asked to do. She comes in and does a great job. She gets good ratings and does fine work. And for that she has not been promoted. I'm sure she would have a very strong case to make a big stink if she wanted to.

Seems to be there's only one reason why she hasn't been promoted and it's not lack of talent.

 
At 8:57 AM, March 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't stand watching this guy on CNN. there is nothing sincere about him and he seems as fake and as plastic as they come. coming out of stories on destruction and death and the guy chuckles. can't cnn find someone with depth who isn't such a fake?

 
At 2:31 PM, March 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pam has talent? She puts people to sleep!

 
At 5:07 PM, March 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More geniuses displaying their mental horsepower... No wonder the general public thinks the TV industry is filled with airheads. First of all, neither TJ or Pam represent african american journalists as a whole. Saying its ok for channel 7 to shy away from "people of color" (which by the way is RACIST) based on either of their performances is why the rest of the nation thinks Arkansans are small minded bigots. You should know better at this age. Also, Larry Audas, as hair challenged as he might be was nothing but smart enticing Dawn Scott to come back to THV. Unlike you she actually has an education (Northwestern) and is a proven winner in this market. Funny that channel seven also wanted her but then you wouldnt know that with your myopic world view.

 
At 5:11 PM, March 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you

Rev. Jesse Jackson

 
At 10:24 AM, March 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He doesn't know a lot of times what he is talking about during breaking news events."

That's why they call it "breaking" news - you don't always have the facts. Personally, I think he does a nice job of ad-libbing. Seems to me that the negative posters on this blog are a bit jealous of TJ. He's a very straight-up, genuine individual - those like myself who know him will attest to this.

 
At 12:20 PM, March 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree Dawn Scott IS AWESOME!!! She was great at CNN too. Wait, No, she really wasn't very good in Little Rock the first time. IF tv talent was based on education, Arkansas would have any hometown people. Name another guy at CNN from Arkansas? Name any in top 10 jobs?

 
At 5:36 PM, March 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you speak as well as you write...
Perhaps a speech coach and a diction coach would be beneficial for those who didnt get through the 8th grade....

 
At 4:40 PM, March 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norris Deajon? Isn't he and heir to the mustard fortune ????

 
At 4:51 PM, March 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KATV has lots of people of color:

Anne Pressly -- blonde
Christina Munoz -- black
Kristin Fisher -- red
Melinda Mayo -- frosted
Beth Hunt -- dishwater blonde
Scott Whatshisname -- brown
Dale Nicholson 3 -- money brown
Heather Crawford - blonde w/ roots
Jason Pederson -- red blonde brown
Renee Shapiro -- annoying

 
At 10:01 PM, March 07, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capt' Morgan spiced rum and Dr. Pepper.

Um..Um..

Way to go TJ!

 
At 10:12 AM, March 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rupp shoulda been the one to get hired by CNN.

 
At 11:08 PM, March 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Renee should get a shot at bigger things. We've shared enough coffee together. It's time to move to happy hour. She obviously knows where the bodies are buried. If you watch her you can figure that out pretty quick. Keep your cheeze curls away from her, but open up a spot for her Dale. Step up!

 
At 11:59 AM, March 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The two worst on air talents in all of Little Rock are Michelle and Renee. They will never do anything more than what they do now.

 
At 12:57 PM, March 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you're one of the top sale-people at KATV you got to do whatever you want. Including pretending you know a lot about films because you have no life and spend all your free time eating goobers, raisinettes, milk duds and popcorn at the Carmike Grand every weekend.

 
At 6:21 PM, March 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why aren't there any black anchors on Channel 7??? And why did the corner office didn't want to hire TJ and Bob Steele did??? I'm not trying to pull the race card, I am confused and I just want to know. Are any qualified, or have any applied for that matter?

 
At 7:19 PM, March 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many African-Americans are in the sales department at KATV? How many African-Americans are in management at KATV? How many clean the trash can each night?

 
At 11:30 PM, March 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

zero...zero...and three (out of three)

 
At 2:08 PM, April 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

channel 7 could be considered a racial place. if you don't have blonde hair or youre not a cute intern who kisses randy dixon's butt then you don't get promoted. Look at all the no talents he hired that learned how to do their job on air.
Ann Pressley, Amanda Manatt, and the latest Jessica Dean

 
At 4:38 AM, August 18, 2011, Anonymous www.josemoretsa.es said...

A lot of effective data for myself!

 
At 11:09 AM, August 24, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you youngunsneede to do a little research on the names Liz Walker and Deborah Mathis. Both worked for C-7 in Little Rock. Both were black and among the best.

 
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