Job Shadow: Sarah Winkelmann, WEAU News Reporter

By Grace Olson

Sarah Winkelmann, a reporter for WEAU News, works on her latest story. ©2019 Grace Olson

Sarah Winkelmann, a daytime reporter for WEAU News starts her days at 3:30 a.m. to be ready for the first air of the news show at 4:30 a.m. She reports her story for the day which takes at most two minutes. Then goes back to her desk to work on her next story. At this time, she is usually watching and logging the footage she got from the previous day. On Mondays through Thursdays she goes into the field to work on her stories by meeting with people for information and getting footage. When getting footage or interviewing people she mentioned how “you never know what you’re going to get” so it’s important to stay open and record everything you can. When interviewing, people may not always answer the question asked so you have to be able to work with people to get an answer you need or work with the answer you got.

 On Friday she was working on a story about a girl named Aubree who recently passed away due to muscular atrophy. Her family put together a walk/run to help raise money in her honor. For this story Winkelmann went to Aubree’s home and talked to her mom and aunt to learn more about the event and Aubree’s life. Winkelmann recorded the interview with Aubree’s mom and aunt as well as some B-roll.

Back at her desk Winkelmann watches all of her footage and logs it to catch quotes she wants to use. She then writes what she wants to say during the video and what she wants the news anchors to say to introduce her story. She then has one of her coworkers look over everything she wrote to catch any errors. Then she heads over to record her voiceover she wrote that will play during her package, everything else is recorded live during the news show. She then puts together all of the audio, B-roll, and interviews she recorded which will play on the news.

I had a great time shadowing Winkelmann; it gave me a good idea of what it’s like to work in broadcast. Something she told me about broadcast is you have to watch yourself on T.V. to see if you talk to fast, too slow, or anything that will put off watchers from the show. Winkelmann went to UW Whitewater which has a similar journalism program to UW Eau Claire where you can choose broadcast or print. It was surprising to me that she didn’t have anyone telling her when it’s time to go live but she has to keep of track of where the program is at, so she knows when to go on. I also didn’t know that the reporter puts together all of the footage which excited me because I really enjoy video editing.

I asked her for ways to get involved and she said one of the easiest ways is to join Facebook groups. They will often post job opportunities, tips for recording or writing, and current news stories. She also said to have your own page to get your work out there, she does this and posts all of her stories after going live. She also said job shadowing is a great way to get involved and was something she did in high school and college. This way you get an idea of what it’s like to work in the field and can narrow down what exactly you want to do. I learned a lot from this experience and am really excited to start my career.

Here Winkelmann is talking about the layout of her segment on WEAU news.

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