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My Dream Job As A 10th Grade High School Student May 30, 2012

Posted by Matt Wargo in Haphazard Happenings.
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Matt hosts “WTGR Fall Sports Update” in 2004.

Three weeks ago, I graduated college with a degree in Journalism from Temple University. Throughout the past year, nearly everyone I encountered consistently asked a soon-to-be college graduate’s most dreaded question, “What’s next?” While I didn’t have a firm answer then, I am still chasing down my dreams and attempting to find a place to start my journey.

As I cleaned and reorganized my belongings at home this weekend, I found dozens of mementos about why I’m pursuing my chosen path and prospective career. About seven years ago, one of my high school English teachers asked the class to write a piece on our dream job. I’ve posted my essay below in uncensored form (Sorry for any glaring grammar mistakes and to save me some embarrassment, I’ve removed the names of the prospective college and television station). Enjoy!

“Five minutes until we’re on the air, five minutes until we’re on the air,” said the voice coming from the doorway to the makeup room. As the makeup artist finished my final touches, I buttoned the last three buttons to my suit and straightened my tie while I looked into the mirror. “You’re backup script is ready to go on your desk Matthew,” said another voice, this one belonging to the producer, as I walked down the hall in 30 Rockefeller Center on the fourth floor to Studio 3B. I comfortably sat down in my chair, read over my script again, fixed my tie and suit once more, and made sure I had nothing in my teeth in the vanity monitor. Another voice stated, “On the air in five, four, three, two,” and the show director pointed to begin this evening’s newscast. As the announcer begin to say, “Live from Studio 3B at 30 Rockefeller Center,” I couldn’t help but remember how I finally got myself here.

The thoughts of me on the NBC Studios Tour in New York City and my years of anchoring WTGR every Friday afternoon were all I could think of. I actually was making it and the best part of all was that my dreams had all come true. When I was growing up, I used to sit in front of the television set every morning while my mom made her coffee and did the laundry and repeat back exactly what the announcer was saying to introduce the anchors. My parents and friends always encouraged me and said how strong my communication skills were and that someday I would strangely enough be replacing one of the anchors who was retiring after their long run. However, this job didn’t come without a price.

I spent four years going to college for communication and broadcast telecommunications at [insert college], a premiere school for this area of studies. I never thought of any of the work I did as negative work or just busy work. I knew that someday this work would get me somewhere. In broadcasting, you don’t become famous overnight. It takes plenty of time to get your name out there, be noticed, and then be recruited for an opening at a station. My dreams were always to work at a high-class station in the city, but soon I realized that my dreams needed to start somewhere small. I started out at [insert station], one of the area’s most watched stations and one of the biggest markets in the country. From there, it only got better. I moved from noon anchor to morning anchor to the most viewed time slots at five and eleven. Sure, I was challenged along the way such as having to fight over spots and keep increasing my skill levels to beat out other competition in the broadcast field. Being an anchor is not as easy as one thinks. It’s not just reading the teleprompter every night of the week for thirty minutes. You have to connect with your audience and be a reliable source for news. The people have to be able to trust that you’re not being opinionated when you’re broadcasting.

Being a newscaster never gets old. The news is always changing and you’re always heading to different places around the area, country, and sometimes even the globe. In the world of news, life is fast. People are always going out to tape a certain segment, or to cover a live event. Sure sometimes it can be very hectic but to me that’s the job. My crew is the best crew to work with. We all get together real well and everyone carries their weight. I don’t think we’ve had a bad show yet. Our crew probably consists of about one hundred people counting all the cameramen, researchers, producers, directors, and artists. Sometimes deadlines can be tough, but that’s the way it goes in news casting. “If you’re not first in news, you’re last.” Personally, getting paid millions of dollars to report the nightly news to America means nothing to me. I started out making pretty much nothing at [insert station] and the other reason I am doing this job is because I love it so much. To me the millions of dollars is just a benefit of having such a great job. There’s nothing better than knowing after a broadcast that you could have changed someone’s views about something or even helped a family find a missing child through an Amber Alert. I’ve been recognized for outstanding journalism and broadcasting achievements from various groups and organizations, but just like the money that’s all just extra to me. When someone asks, “Mr. Wargo, how do you do it?” I simply respond, “I was born to communicate to people and every night I feel it run through my veins.” Every night I feel like America is getting quality news as I contribute my communication skills, friendliness, and honesty and reliability to the people who most deserve it. Every night I give it the best of my ability. Every night I never leave the news desk thinking I could have done it better, because I know I gave it all I had for that newscast. I know we’re doing a good job every night because America responds to our talents rating us the number one nightly newscast in America.

“It’s NBC Nightly News with Matthew Wargo,” finished the announcer. “Good evening America and thanks for joining us tonight,” as I read the first lines of the teleprompter. Being beamed out into millions of viewers homes across the nation may give you a big case of the butterflies when it’s your first time, but after a while you get over them and just remember how much you love doing your job. “That’s all for tonight’s broadcast, but for all of us here at NBC thanks for tuning in. I’ll see you right back here tomorrow evening.”

My teacher gave that essay an “A++” and deemed it “one of the best paper’s in the house.” I even have the original, graded essay to prove it!

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PhiladelphiaNeighborhoods: Local Pizza Shop and Musuem to Showcase World Record Collection March 21, 2012

Posted by Matt Wargo in Clips & Videos, Philadelphia Scoop.
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Brian “Brain” Dwyer is taking his world record collection of pizza memorabilia and opening Pizza Brain along Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. It’s expected to be the world’s first pizza museum and restaurant.

Thanks to Brian and the Pizza Brain team for the shout out on their website.

Grab a slice and experience the story behind Pizza Brain!

[This content was originally created for PhiladelphiaNeighborhoods.com, a project of the Department of Journalism at Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater. You can find the original story here.]

The Official Experience Temple Day 2012 Playlist February 26, 2012

Posted by Matt Wargo in Haphazard Happenings.
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Hello, Owls! It’s finally upon us…Experience Temple Day 2012.

That means it’s time to release this year’s highly-anticipated playlist. You can find all 27 songs below. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to use Twitter #etd2012 and to check-in using “Experience Temple Day (ETD)” on Foursquare.

  1. “Simply the Best” – Tina Turner
  2. “Another Day” – Jamie Lidell
  3. “Get Ready” – The Temptations
  4. “Semi-Charmed Life” – Third Eye Blind
  5. “Days Go By” – Keith Urban
  6. “Danza Kuduro” -Don Omar
  7. “Valerie” – Glee Cast
  8. “Uptown Girl” – Billy Joel
  9. “Faster” – Matt Nathanson
  10. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – Junior Vasquez Mix
  11. “Dynamite” -Taio Cruz
  12. “Mine (Pop Mix)” – Taylor Swift
  13. “My Body” – Young the Giant
  14. “Stronger” – Kelly Clarkson
  15. “One More Yeah” – Yoni
  16. “Hit The Lights” – Selena Gomez
  17. “Super Bass” – Nicki Minaj
  18. “Domino” – Jessie J
  19. “Hello” – Martin Solveig
  20. “Tonight Is The Night” – Outasight
  21. “Part of Me” – Katy Perry
  22. “Can’t Stop Me” – Afrojack and Shermanology
  23. “2012 (It Ain’t The End Of The World)” – Jay Sean
  24. “We Found Love” – Rihanna
  25. “Without You” – David Guetta ft. Usher
  26. “Fade Into Darkness (Vocal Radio Edit)” – Avicii
  27. “Levels” – Avicii

UPDATE: The following tracks were added to the mix for the 3/25 event: “Photograph” by Santana feat. Chris Daughtry; “Tongue Tied” by Grouplove; “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) Remix” by Gareth Nevin; “Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris; “Glad You Came” by The Wanted; “Levels (In Reverse)” by George Money and “So Much Love” by Fedde Le Grand.

Future Temple Tour Guides Vie for a Red Polo February 2, 2012

Posted by Matt Wargo in Haphazard Happenings.
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The Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Temple University held its first night of ‘Meet the Owls’ sessions Wednesday night.

Nearly 100 candidates came to the initial group interview for a chance at their own red polo and an opportunity to be named one of Temple’s next Owl Ambassadors.

Each applicant introduced themselves to the group of future Owls and current tour guides, before teaming up for a short group skit focused around life as a student at Temple.

From here, selected candidates are invited back for a personal interview. The final step in the selection process allows applicants to show their skills at one of the university’s admitted student events.

A second ‘Meet the Owls’ session is scheduled for Friday night at the Welcome Center on Main Campus.

El Vez: A Taste of Mexico in Center City February 1, 2012

Posted by Matt Wargo in Philadelphia Scoop, Travel and Explore.
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Fresh guacamole and one of the city’s best margaritas? Yes, please!

El Vez, 121 S. 13th St., offers diners a unique dining experience that only local restaurateur Stephen Starr could pull off. From the food to the decor, El Vez transports guests into a world of Mexican cuisine.

For starters, this Mexican eatery offers seven different guac options. Seven! All made fresh and served in a traditional molcajete or as a sampler platter.

When it comes to the main course, the portions are just right. Be sure to pick up a few of the side options to spice up your meal. I recommend the grilled corn on the cob with lime and queso fresco or the creamy poblano corn rice. Yum!

So, go and explore! The food’s great and the drinks are too. Plus, the guest service at the Center City establishment is beyond extraordinary.

Oh, El Vez also offers a photo booth! Three bucks to get some a strip of retro, black-and-white photos. Over the weekend, a group of friends and family went for Abby’s Birthday and the waitstaff offered to have the photo booth images screen printed onto an El Vez t-shirt. How cool?