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TV meteorologist speaks to Telecom students

TV meteorologist speaks to Telecom students

13News Now meteorologist Iisha Scott breezed into the Telecommunications Center recently with a sunny forecast for hardworking NNPS television production students.

Scott, an area native, visited Telecom for an informal talk and discussion with the senior (TV-II) class. Her enthusiasm and love for her work was easy to see as she told the students about her background, education, and TV station jobs. She also gave them advice and insights to the broadcasting industry and answered questions that they had for her.

Scott talking
Iisha Scott talks to students about her career as a TV meteorologist.
Beth Scott photos

Scott talked about wanting to be a meteorologist since the age of seven and how she always wanted to go outside during stormy weather instead of staying inside like everybody else.

As for her education, Scott earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from Norfolk State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Geosciences/Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University.

Scott told the students that she loves what she does, but the "hours are crazy." She had been up since three a.m. when she came to speak to them on a Friday afternoon. She mentioned that during hurricanes and snowstorms, broadcast meteorologists work 12 hours on/12 hours off.

"If you can deal with the crazy hours, you'll be OK," she said.

The thing she stressed most was the importance of doing an internship to gain experience. She also wanted to impress upon the students that while TV news reporting may look glamorous, the glamour part of it is really very minimal.

"Hair and makeup is the last thing you think about!" she said.

She emphasized the importance of gaining experience in all areas of TV production: camera operation, CG (computer graphics), and working with a teleprompter, for example.

Toinette Outland, Instructional Supervisor for Career and Technical Education, who attended the talk, pointed out to the students the great opportunities they have available to them, like the TV production classes and the remote TV production truck.

group photo by TV truck
Scott poses with Telecom students and instructors in front of the remote TV production truck.

Scott concurred.

"We didn't have anything [in high school]," she said. "Maybe we had a microphone..." her voice trailed off.

"Don't take what you have for granted," she added, eyeing the plentiful and modern editing stations around the classroom.

Scott also spoke about how television is evolving and that now there are so many different ways to reach people, like video streaming on YouTube and Facebook, so students should keep that in mind.

Thinking outside the box and coming up with fresh ideas to offer your station is another thing that makes you stand out, she said. For example, she did a "hair forecast" to demonstrate dew points and get viewers to visually understand, and in a way that they could relate to.

"When the dew point is high, my hair is crazy and not cooperating," she said, "but when it's low, my hair is great."

The viewers - and her news director - loved this fresh way of explaining something that otherwise might not register with the public.

She also warned the students that because of the 24-hour news cycle and all the different methods to report information, TV reporters probably are "not just going to work at work;" sometimes it will be at home or elsewhere.

During the week, Iisha Scott's forecasts and live reports can be seen on "13News Now at Daybreak," and on the weekends starting at 6 a.m. Besides covering weather, Scott sometimes fills in on traffic reporting.

As far as interviewing for a job, Scott said, "it's about chemistry, how you fit in with others."

"Think of it as a puzzle," she said. "They want to find people that fit."

Students asked if they needed a portfolio and she said to definitely get a "reel" done. This is something Telecom seniors will create for themselves in the spring - a "résumé reel," which is a demo of their work.

"When it comes to TV, they want to see experience," she said, noting that a high GPA and great classes are outweighed by experience.

Starting in a small market is essential, too, Scott said, because making mistakes at a smaller station with fewer viewers is how you learn and grow.

"They won't be as hard on you," she said.

The students asked about how to find an internship and she suggested e-mailing the station owner, but not necessarily just once.

"In this industry," she said, "you cannot be passive."

"You have to be hungry for what you want."