(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Brandon Taylor, a news anchor in Columbia, S.C., told students at Winthrop University the news business isn’t as glamorous or lucrative as some might think, during the school’s annual Mass Comm Week.
The three-day event, hosted by the Department of Mass Communication, included a series of speakers and panel discussions Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.
Taylor, who was part of a panel of alumni working in media, graduated from Winthrop in 2007 with a degree in journalism.
He is currently the co-anchor of News 19 This Morning at WLTX-TV, but he has also worked as a reporter for the CBS station in Myrtle Beach and as an anchor for the ABC affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin.
“It’s so good to be back at Winthrop. You know it’s kind of a surreal experience to be back where it all started,” said Taylor.
As the morning news anchor, Taylor starts his day at 2:30 a.m. and the first newscast at WLTX begins at 4:30 a.m., but he said he finds his work rewarding.
“A good day for me is when you can make a difference, when you’re telling a story that affects the community. There may have been a problem, but by the end of the day or the end of the story, there is a solution,” he said.
Taylor told students they should work to develop their skills as writers before they graduate.
“Know how to write, write complete sentences. Write content or write text that is inviting and makes people want to dive deeper into (the story),” he said.
Taylor also stressed the importance of internships and being willing to ask questions.
He said the climate for journalists can be challenging, as many people use the term “fake news” to show their lack of trust in media.
However, Taylor said it’s important not to take public criticism personally, especially after a mistake.
“This a business where now, in the past five or 10 years, we’re more accessible. People can reach out to us, people are not always kind,” he said. “They want to point (mistakes) out to you, they want to comment on Twitter or Facebook and it’s instantaneously. So you can make a mistake about something and then within seconds people are on Twitter or Facebook saying ‘you’re wrong.’
“Try not to take things personally and know that you have a job to do and just do the job to the best of your abilities.”