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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!


News and Celebrity: ‘Enquiring Minds Want to Know’ November 2, 2010

Posted by Matt Wargo in Journalism.
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‘Enquiring minds want to know,’ according to Barry Levine.

Levine is the executive editor of The National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid surrounding everything around celebrity news, gossip, politics and crime.

The Enquirer’s master spoke with students in the News and Celebrity Journalism course at Temple University Tuesday morning.

He spoke about the tabloid’s history, reporting techniques, ‘checkbook journalism,’ and the stories that shed a positive light on the magazine, like Michael Jackson, John Edwards and O.J. Simpson.

Did you ever wonder how much is the Enquirer willing to pay a source?

Levine says anywhere from a few hundred dollars to six and seven figures. While Levine didn’t reveal any sources, he did say that we would be surprised to hear who speaks up about certain events.

The most popular edition of the Enquirer came after the death of Elvis Presley. The magazine sent numerous reporters to cover Presley’s funeral at Graceland, but the exclusive was a photo of the singer in his coffin taken by a cousin. Over six million copies were sold, the highest circulation ever for a magazine.

Levine is a 1981 Temple grad.

A Peak Inside the Studios of Bonaduce and WYSP October 19, 2010

Posted by Matt Wargo in Journalism, Philadelphia Scoop, Travel and Explore.
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It’s 8 a.m. and there’s two strippers, or should I say “exotic dancers,” inside a studio at WYSP in Old City. The girls and a group of journalism students from a News and Celebrity course at Temple University are cramped inside the studio during the 8 o’clock hour for “The Danny Bonaduce Show.”

Today, the hour’s filled with Bonaduce and his sidekicks, “Metro” and Sarah, bouncing around comments about the day’s news, among the live promos for the exotic club and Eastern State Penitentary’s “Terror Behind the Walls.”

After the show, Bondauce talks to the students about being true to yourself and enjoying your gig. He explains how the first five minutes of his morning show come to life, whether it’s a stranger asking to talk to their mom on the phone or a controversial topic.

Oddly enough, Bondauce mentions that his worst fear is hurting someone’s feelings, and details the great lengths he’s gone to in order to get that person to understand him.

After his infamous run on “The Partridge Family,” which is  celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the talk-show host, along with his red-hair, has extended his fame, through celebrity boxing and reality television programs.

Our class examines the celebrity culture that’s been created by mass media and society. Bonaduce fits right into this culture, just like he fits into his tight-fitting attire.

“The Danny Bonaduce Show” airs weekday mornings on WYSP.

Summer’s on Deck as the Semester Nears an End April 23, 2010

Posted by Matt Wargo in Haphazard Happenings.
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year again. No, it’s not the holiday season, but it is nearing the end of the spring semester and my sophomore year at Temple. Yes, finals are quickly approaching and I’m already grinding the coffee for study days, but come May 12, summer break will be king. Before junior year rolls around this fall, I will have had some hands-on experience in the media world and a summer course to add to the resume.

Over the summer, I’ll be taking an online journalism course, Journalism Research. This course is solely based online and will be over before July starts! Additionally, WFMZ-TV in Berks County has granted me a great opportunity as a journalism student to get hands-on and real world experience this summer as an intern in their news department.

Of course, mixed in with the business side of things, I’ll be soaking up the sun and sitting pool side. You may also find me at the Reading Phillies entertaining the crowd as one of the team’s mascots or operating a Phan Cam throughout the stadium. Some good ol’ rest and relaxation will round out the summer months before its time to return to Temple in August. Be sure to follow the blog all summer long for posts and updates on what’s going on in my world!