Life of a Journalism Student

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was studying Broadcast Journalism at the University of Florida.

What makes the journalism school at UF one of the best in the country is the abundant resources available for students to develop their skills and thrive in the process. One of the many facilities offered to students is the Center for Media Innovation and Research. The center gives students the ability use advanced digital technology to prepare themselves for either a career in journalism or public relations. For journalists, the 21st Century News Laboratory has everything industry leaders use to make sure their projects look professional. The AHA! Lab is the perfect space to collaborate on campaigns across many different media platforms.

As a journalism student, I have been given several opportunities to develop my skills in the industry. From covering the one year anniversary of Hurricane Michael or traveling to Iowa to report from the NCAA Tournament for basketball, the college has been supportive in going beyond just the course work to gain real-world experience in the field that will be valuable when the time comes to graduate. The work at the college, specifically through WUFT and ESPN Gainesville, allows its students to have their first job in the business in college rather than after. This puts Florida graduates ahead of other students around the country.

Besides the work, being involved with these two stations has also given me the opportunity to make life long friendships. A lot of us won’t work together again, but having a large network of successful people in the industry who you can call close friends is an amazing asset professionally and a gift from a social standpoint.

The Tipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller “The Tipping Point” dives into how social phenomenon start and spread like wildfire. In the book, Gladwell lists the three agents of change: the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context. Social epidemics are driven by a handful of people, leaves a lasting message to its audience, and takes advantage of people’s sensitivity to their environment.

The success of any social phenomenon is depending on the involvement of people who possess specific and rare gifts. These people, according to Gladwell, are identified as Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. These gifts bring people together, have a lot of information about many different topics, and persuading the masses.

Gladwell’s inclusion of historical events helps the reader understand. He was also specific in which events he decided to include. Gladwell selected prominent events that are often taught in history class and or the readers have a connection to, such as Paul Revere’s midnight ride and Sesame Street. Gladwell uses Paul Revere’s famous horseback ride through Boston to illustrate the impact of word-of-mouth epidemics. Revere was able to get a simple message across a broad region in a short amount of time that resonated with his audience. This example shows the power of word-of-mouth in human communication. Gladwell’s inclusion of Sesame Street showed how the show took into account the stickiness factor to maintain the attentions of its young intended audience. Studies showed that children tend to look at the television screen for a few seconds and it was their job to capture their attention in those few seconds. They accomplished this by having Muppets spell out the word “hug” and having certain skits and episode on repeat. This gave the young audience something captivating to look at and with the repetition, it helps the message stick with the young crowd.

The three principles elaborated in this book serves a valuable lesson to not just those wanting to create successful blogs, but anyone in the communication field. In order for your message to resonate with your audience, it must take into account two of the three agents of change described in “The Tipping Point.” When trying to convey a message to an audience, it’s crucial to have a stickiness component. In the book, it said the rule in the marketing world is that a commercial must play six times to an individual in order for it to resonate with them and have them remember the message. In movies, movies are more entertaining for the individual if the audience has a whole is enjoying the movie. This is because of human’s tendency to conform to the opinions of the masses. With this in mind, you want to have a message that will be accepted by a majority of the audience so more people will draw to it.

Notable Blogs

In my last post, we looked at different examples of blog reporting.

In this post, we are going to mention other notable blogs run by student reporters. This will allow us to get more insight into the differnet avenues you might take with a blog.

GVN Football

One of my fellow sports reporters, Sarah Morton, writes about football in Gainesville. What makes her blog unique is that she doesn’t solely discuss the Florida Gator football team. She also gives insight on high school football, which is very popular in the community.

Foodie Living in Florida

Christina Shuler‘s blog is about various meals she’s have all around the world. This includes crepes in Ireland, where she showed her readers how they are made in a video. She has also discussed food trends, which shows

Getting Gains in Gainesville

In Nicole Roger‘s blog, she gives advice on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle while in college. She gives her readers recipes they can cook that taste good and are good for them. She also gives insight on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and steps the readers can do to achieve it.

Blog Reporting

Another form of reporting is through blogs.

This gives people the opportunity to share what they’re passionate about with their audience. They set their deadlines, they control the content, etc.

Some examples of blogs with a wide variety of topics include:

How to Be Poor in LA

Rachel Tate is a former co-worker of mine at WUFT News. She recently graduated and moved out to Los Angeles. In her blog, she details her experience living in L.A. and being on her own. She gives great insight on what it’s like to live in California as a recent college graduate based on her personal experiences.

Bad to the Bone

Abigail Salley‘s blog is a prime example of creating content that you’re passionate about. Her blog, Bad to the Bone, shares the benefits of trained dogs and tips on how to best train a dog. She even goes into music dogs like and getting dogs ready for Halloween so they can be the best dressed pup on the block.

Hasley Pitman

Hasley Pitman is one of the most talented reporters we have at WUFT. Her blog talks about her personal experience at the station, which included going to the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian. She shared a tremendous story of a family from the Bahamas living with a family in Florida following the storm. Before going into reporting, she wants to go to law school. She will be an amazing lawyer and reporter!

About Me

I’m Zach Oliveri, a senior Telecommunication-News student at the University of Florida.

I currently serve as a Sports Anchor and News Anchor for WUFT News as well as the station’s beat reporter for the Florida Gator Football and Men’s Basketball teams. I’ve been fortunate in this position to have amazing experiences such as covering the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, the Camping World Kickoff Classic in Orlando and numerous Florida Gator games that will go down in history.

Also, I am a Sports Coordinator for ESPN Gainesville WRUF. I started working for the station as a freshman as an associate radio producer before becoming a reporter and full time producer. I was the Florida Gator Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter for the station for the 2017-18 season.

I have also gained valuable experience through internships. I was a Sports Intern for WSVN, the FOX affiliate in Miami. In this position, I was able to cover Miami Dolphins training camp, Miami Marlins regular season games, Miami Hurricanes training camp and Florida Panthers Developmental Camp. I also served as an Intern for 790 The Ticket, the leading sports radio station in Miami. I helped in various aspects of the day-to-day operation of the show such as running the board and assisting in on-air bits.

I was forutnate to be a contributor and reporter for two of WUFT News’ special projects: Silenced and After The Eye. Silenced looked into Florida’s Amendment 4, which prohibits felons from having the right to vote. After The Eye showed the recovery efforts in the Florida Panhandle one year after Hurricane Michael.


For broadcast journalists, resumes are a vital tool to showcase the work you’ve done.

Journalists are constantly applying for jobs so it’s important to keep it constantly updated.

For each position on the resume, it’s wise to give a description of each job to give an insight on what skills you’ve acquired or perfected during your time at that specific job.

Also, it’s a good idea to include whatever systems you’ve worked on (i.e. ENPS and Adobe Premiere Pro). Stations will see these as major positives that they don’t have to train you in those systems.

Zach Oliveri Resume

Keys to a High Quality Sports Segment

Sports is the fun department of news.

It’s usually placed at the end of a newscast to give a reprieve from the hard hitting news of the day such as murder, burglary, etc.

Sports gives the community a chance to unite under a commonality, no matter what their background is or beliefs are.

Because of the impact sports have on a community, it’s imperative to put together an entertaining, informative and visually appealing sportscast.

To be entertaining, you need to present yourself with energy and confidence. Sports is fun so have fun with it. Be creative with your scripts to where your personality shines through. You want your audience to feel like your their friend and you both are just out talking sports.

A common misconception with sports anchors is that they want to be like ESPN and rely heavily on stats and analysis. Stats play a major role in a sportscast. However, it’s not the end all be all. Your audience, for the most part, doesn’t have a ton of sports knowledge to dive into the analytics. You want to tell the story of the game at a basic level.

To have a visually appealing sportscast means to have great video. Sports is great visually and this can make or break your sportscast. To have great video, it all comes down to shooting in the field.

Sports departments at many stations are going through changes. However, sports will always play a major role in the community you’re in.


Standups are crucial in telling a strong story in broadcast journalism.

It allows you to have your face linked to the story and can also showcase your creativity.

One of the biggest teachings broadcast journalists are told is to write your script to your video. However, sometimes reporters might not have video to illustrate a crucial point in the story. This is where standups come into play. They help fill those gaps in the story.

The best standups are demonstrative and active. This means the reporter must use a prop, whether if it’s a jersey for a football story or even a pet, to drive home the point to the audience. For a standup to be active means that the reporter can be walking, pointing out locations or objects that are part of the story.

An underrated aspect of standups is using a lav microphone instead of a stick. This means using the microphone that clips to either your tie, jacket or collar. This allows you to have both hands free to interact with your surroundings.

Standups are also a good way to promote your story on social media. It’s difficult to post long stories on Twitter. To get your audience’s attention, you can post a video from your standup. Images and videos captivate people on social media and will be a better post than just the link to the story. Social media is such an important part of building a brand as a reporter.

You want to make sure you have great standups because not only they are key parts to being a reporter, but they are also the first clips you put on your reel when applying to jobs. You want to set a good first impression for potential employers.

Using Social Media

Social media is the future of journalism.

It allows reporters to get information immediately to their audience. You don’t have to wait for a newscast to get on the air or even for the printing press to fire up to get the message out their.

News is constantly trying to be the first ones to report a story and social media can do that. All you have to do, essentially, is whip out your phone and take a picture, shoot vide or even just type out the news. This is especially crucial in breaking news situations. For example, I was covering a press conference for the Florida Gator men’s basketball team and head coach Mike White announced that center Gorjak Gak was injured with a dislocated left shoulder.

Once this announcement was made, I immediately went onto Twitter and shared the news with my followers.

Gaining traction on social media is no easy feat for any reporter. You must be engaging and informative with your followers to have that total increase in number.

What can help individual tweets or social media posts gain more attention is hashtags and mention certain accounts. In the tweet posted above, I made sure to use #Gators and tag the station I work for, ESPN Gainesville. This way people who follow the hashtag and the station, once the station retweets it, can see the post.

Social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram allow users to go live to their followers. This can be done at a scene of a crime or just standing on the sidelines at a football game.

Going live and talking to your phone can be daunting, but going live isn’t hard if you just follow some of these steps.

With more and more stations and media outlets using social media to distribute content, it’s imperative that reporters today are conscious of how to best use the tools at their disposal.

Feature Stories

One of the joys of reporting the news is the opportunity to share stories.
Whether if it’s a story of hardship or triumph, these stories peak human interest.

Feature stories are these stories. They allow us to get a greater insight of an individual. The reports are normally softer in terms of the daily news cycle, which consists of burglaries and murders. What also makes a story a feature story is that it’s not timely. It can be worked on for weeks and months. The work involved with these stories make them very rewarding.

The key to a successful feature story is having a captivating story with a relatable subject. Some examples of the subject to a feature story are someone overcoming a terminal illness or achieving ultimate success despite great obstacles. Also, visuals are crucial for a feature story.

Feature stories are common in sports. It allows fans to get a greater understanding of the players they watch on television.

Through my work as a sports anchor/reporter for WUFT News, I’ve done multiple feature stories. The latest feature story I did showed the impact a jersey number has on the Florida Gator football team.

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