At the 2016 IRE Conference in New Orleans, Knight Scholar Ashley Jackson talked with Ian Auzenne, an executive producer at KATC in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Jackson: Tell me about your journey and how you got into the position that you are in today?
Auzenne: It starts back to 1998, when I was 10 years old. I got involved in public access TV in Lafayette and I kept up with it until I went to college. Princeton doesn't have a student TV station, but it has a radio station, WPRB. I started there as a sports broadcaster and quickly moved into DJing and doing news. That transition was easy because I'm a natural talker and I've always been at ease in front of a mic.
After moving back to Louisiana, I used a few connections to get a job at KLFY. I wanted to report, but was hired as a producer. Two years later, I jumped over to KATC as an assignments editor. I later switched back to producing and recently got promoted to EP. I got my current gig because (KATC News Director) Letitia (Walker) saw something in me as a writer and producer that she gave me a shot to do the EP gig.
Jackson: In college did you intern anywhere?
Auzenne: I did not. Big mistake on my part. I could have had a foot in the door somewhere and a leg up in getting a job. I'd advise all college journalism students to get an internship if they can.
Jackson: What inspires you to keep going?
Auzenne: The need to pay rent! I love what I do. That makes it easy to go to work everyday. It's also a great way to learn about the world and the people around you. Being in broadcasting has given me a whole new insight into the minds of the viewers/listeners
Jackson: What is the hardest thing you have run into in the media world?
Auzenne: Two things come to mind.
1. I had to learn how to delegate and trust others to do their jobs. I still have issues with this because I know if I want it done quickly and accurately, I can do it myself. I know I have to teach people how to accomplish various tasks, but old habits die hard.
2. Time management. If you over-exert yourself and commit to too many projects, you'll burn out quickly. I've done it too many times to count. I'm finally cutting back on my freelance work and focusing primarily on my EP role.
Jackson: What would be your advice to young aspiring journalist and reporters?
Auzenne: Pound the pavement. Keep looking for work. You won't find a job immediately, but it will come. When you do find a job, stay optimistic and avoid becoming bitter. You will become cynical, but you have to be cynical to be a good investigator and reporter. But you don't have to let the job make you bitter.
Jackson: What tips could you give students on how to land a dream job?
Auzenne: If you want your dream job, you have to actively pursue it. It won't be given to you. Nothing in this business is. If you want it, you have to work and fight for it.