Spotlight Interview: Bradley Singleton

Bradley Singleton: Associate Producer, Early Today and MSNBC News

New York City

WFU Class of 2017

Major: Communication and Media Studies

Minor: Journalism

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When Bradley Singleton received an offer at NBC, he packed his bags and moved to New York within that month! We interviewed Bradley about this transition and working at NBC.

DeacLink: What did you study at Wake? How has your career unfolded since graduation?

Bradley Singleton: At Wake, I studied Communication with a concentration in Media Studies and a minor in Journalism. After I graduated in 2017, I stayed in Winston Salem for the summer and worked at the Intercultural Center doing communication and social media work. My next position was at the Wake Forest Office of Diversity and Inclusion as a communication specialist, where I worked the following fall. This was a very creative position, and I focused on social media campaigns, communication strategies, and worked overall to broaden the office’s outreach. I was applying for jobs while working at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and around the end of October I landed two interviews at NBC. I received an offer shortly after these interviews, and within a month I had packed my bags, moved to New York, and begun a job as a production assistant at the Early Today Show at MSNBC!

DL: Can you talk a little about working for the Early Today Show?

BS: I was recruited as a part of the YOH Program at NBC. NBC likes to give new employees who are recent college graduates the chance to explore the company and the news industry by rotating shows and positions until we find our niche. Through this program I happened to be assigned to the Early Today Show on a very small team, which I enjoy because I get a very hands-on experience. For my first three months at the Early Today Show I was a Graphics PA, where I worked as a liaison between the producers and the artists who make the visuals for the show. I knew, however, that I wanted to eventually transition into a writing role, and so I tried to perfect my writing skills by working on scripts on the side. I studied the show to see what I could contribute to make a positive impact and noticed that there was a lack of sports/entertainment. I sent my sample scripts to my producer, and eventually was assigned some small stories! I worked non-stop and those story assignments started multiplying and becoming more serious. Now I work as a sports writer for the show and write breaking news stories.

DL: What is your favorite part about working at the Early Today Show?

BS: At the Early Today Show I am able to give voices to people who wouldn’t necessarily get the attention that they deserve, which is really powerful and rewarding. I also really enjoy writing about sports as well! I feel that I bring a certain trendy vernacular that the show has begun to use and embrace.

DL: How did your studies and general experience at Wake Forest drive your career path and affect your current position?

BS: The most important thing that I learned at Wake was the ability to write – for sure. The Journalism department in particular taught me the fundamentals and drove home the importance of writing. I also learned how to work with hard deadlines and how to juggle multiple projects at once. There are days in my current position where I have to write 6-7 stories in three hours, and I feel calm and confident doing so because of my time at Wake. On top that, I think that Wake gives you a certain confidence and swag that is unmatched. You know that you can handle whatever is coming at you, and you know that you can outwork the next person. The naturally competitive environment and mindset that you develop at Wake sticks with you and encourages you to always do something extra to set yourself apart.

DL: On the other hand, what do you think that Wake could have done better to prepare its students for life after graduation?

BS: Sometimes I felt that there was a certain passiveness to the Communication department. The classes within the department taught rhetoric, science and theory, but I was craving more out of the department. I wanted to learn some more practical skills, like how to work a camera. I ended up having to teach myself a lot of the fine skills and the language of the industry when I was on the job. I would love to see the department grow and serve students who want to do something outside of the norm, but don’t have the same opportunities as their peers.

DL: Can you talk to me about your experiences finding and applying to the various positions you have held?

BS: I held quite a few internships – paid and unpaid – during my time at Wake Forest. I’m from South Carolina, so my first position was at a local station in Columbia, South Carolina. My experience there helped me get a paid position at a local station the next summer, where I got a more hands-on experience and was able to practice my craft. On campus I worked at Wake Radio and Wake TV and was able to then get an internship at a radio station in my hometown the following summer. Networking was really essential in getting my position at NBC. The Director of Talent Recruitment was from my hometown, and I was able to meet him through the girlfriend of a family friend! I built a relationship with him during my early years at Wake and worked hard to continue networking and maintaining that relationship throughout college. When I graduated, he put my resume into a smaller, company pool and definitely played a role in getting my application seen.

DL: What is your favorite part about living in New York?

BS: Living in New York City is like being on a vacation every day! It is such a dope place to live and work. You can travel two train stops away and emerge into a whole new world. There are so many types of people and so many places to explore…. it’s an adventure every time you step outside your door. And in terms of the arts, there are so many opportunities here all condensed into one small area!

DL: What is next for you in your career?

BS: I see myself staying at NBC for a while and exploring some of the other shows. I want to try to do something on air at some point, and I can see myself maybe becoming a producer down the line. I can also see myself moving into the digital sphere, which is an area that is always changing and growing.

DL: What is one piece of advice that you wish you had been told as a student interested in pursuing a career in media?

BS: Learn how to write!! Know the fundamentals of writing and always work to perfect that skill. Also, be independent. Learn how to do stuff on your own and be proactive. Always look to make someone else’s job easier – it will pay off in the long run. If you are a senior heading towards graduation, don’t get stressed out if you don’t have a job quite yet. Positions in media are always opening and closing, and you’ll get there! And lastly, don’t let anyone deter you from your dream career. A lot of times at Wake, I felt that other people were trying to influence and change my career path. Follow your passion, and don’t allow people to try and push you towards a more “traditional” job.

Spotlight Interview: Corvaya Jeffries

Corvaya Jeffries: Associate Producer, CNN

Atlanta

WFU Class of 2013

Major: Communication 

Minor: WGS

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Corvaya Jeffries works in Atlanta as an Associate Producer for CNN. We recently talked with Corvaya about her career path, the impact of her Wake Forest education, and working at CNN.

DeacLink: Can you walk me through your career path from graduation to your current job?

Corvaya Jeffries: When I was a student at Wake, I served as an intern at several companies including a small radio station in Greensboro. One of my goals while interning (and eventually working) at this station was to be on air and I was surprised at how quickly I achieved that. I decided I needed a new goal. My extracurricular and intern experiences along with my dedication and persistence led to an opportunity in Los Angeles at a TV production company owned and run by a fellow Demon Deacon. Two weeks after graduation, with $600 and a suitcase, I made the move.

During my work in production, I never ignored my desire to write and create. I found opportunities to freelance and created digital spaces for blogging when I wasn’t working.  Eventually, I landed in the newsroom. In 2016, a position at a small but mighty newspaper in South Florida was created for me through a top media company. There, I reported, created and produced videos, improved workflows and helped build digital strategies executed by several teams. Two years later, I realized I have a deep interest in technology, innovation and how it relates to media and journalism. So, I got involved with the Online News Association, an organization that caters to innovation in newsrooms and supports creative thinkers and change-agents like myself.

Since, everything has changed. I now serve at CNN as an Associate Producer on a mobile programming team. My role is incredibly digitally focused. On a day-to-day basis, I make decisions that change the way users consume news. I am excited and proud to be moving ahead of what’s next.

DL: How much would you say that your studies and experiences at Wake have informed or driven your career path?

CJ: I have always been creative but without my Wake Forest experience, I would not be the professional I am today. Wake Forest helped me focus in on excellence; what it is and how to tap into it. Also, Wake Forest’s emphasis on service and Pro Humanitate emboldened my love for helping others and giving back. It prompted me to approach every new opportunity asking, “how can I be of service to this company or person?” and that has done wonders for my career thus far. Additionally, I’ve learned ‘change is constant.’ Everything about my Wake experience taught me that ‘Grit’ is the most important characteristic needed to be successful and keep up with that change.

DL: What could Wake have done better to prepare students for life after graduation?

CJ: I’d say the university could have done a better job at implementing financial literacy programs for students. During my time as an undergraduate, there was a need for more transparent dialogue about finances and what a lot of us are hit with post-graduation.

DL: How did you find and apply to the various positions that you have held?

CJ: I applied for jobs in many ways: by walking into an establishment and inquiring about a position, showing up to an event with my resume or reel, applying online and submitting documents into what felt like cyberspace...the list goes on.  But it is through honest and authentic networking that I’ve been able to serve in life-changing positions.

You must recognize the people, spaces and opportunities around you. Start from there. Know humility and be transparent. Share your goals and visions with selected people in your life – your professors and mentors. Listen when they speak. Stay true to yourself and be kind. Doors will open naturally.

DL: What is your favorite part about living and working in Atlanta?

CJ: Atlanta is an established yet growing mecca for media and technology. It is also diverse.  Atlanta is the first place I’ve worked where I see and meet several men and women of color from many different backgrounds in prestigious positions. I’m surrounded by some really important perspectives and I’m soaking it all up.

DL: What is your favorite part about working for CNN?

CJ: The challenges. I have been challenged in ways I’ve never been before and am learning so many new hard and soft skills because if it. I am also in a global team environment. I may be pitching stories to folks in Australia today and creating a product with someone in London tomorrow. It is fantastic.

DL: What is next for you?

CJ: I plan to create my next opportunity as opposed to looking for it. I am interested in technology, entrepreneurship and becoming an author. The future is bright, change is constant and limits do not exist. I am so excited.

DL: Do you have any advice that you would like to pass onto current students and future alumni?

CJ: Strive for excellence and do not lose who you are in the midst of doing so. If an opportunity in front of you does not align with your core values or your moral, say ‘No.’ That is okay. Also, what do you believe in? Know the answer to that question before saying goodbye to undergrad.