Friday, January 21, 2011

Whitworth journalism alum hired as sports anchor for major Seattle news station

This summer, Chris Miller, '01, was hired as a weekend sports anchor and weekday sports reporter for KOMO news, in Seattle. Miller says one of the best experiences working at KOMO so far was his first assignment, when he covered a baseball game between the Yankees and Mariners at Safeco Field.

"I stood next to the Yankees dugout after interviewing their manager, Joe Girardi, and out walked Jeter and A-Rod, standing right next to me," Miller says. "I've interviewed several major star athletes since then, but at that moment, I knew I was in big."

Miller says the best part of his job is walking off the set knowing that he produced and anchored a flawless, entertaining and informative sportscast.

Initially, Miller planned on writing for National Geographic, but an internship for a TV station in his hometown of Denver sparked his interest in broadcast journalism. He later worked as a news reporter in Grand Junction, Colo., and as sports director for a station in Palm Springs, Calif.

Miller advises students interested in broadcasting to be patient, as it is a competitive career that requires perseverance. Early on, he says, there's no glamour in the profession, and you have to grow accustomed to deadline pressure.

"Starting out, be prepared to move to a small town in the middle of nowhere," Miller says. "You'll make a laughable salary, subsisting on Top Ramen and sleeping on an air mattress. You'll cover seemingly ridiculous stories on topics like, 'Girl Scout fundraisers' and 'a grandmother's missing puppy.'"

He continues, "The good news is that you'll make lots of friends who are going through the same process right along with you. You'll make mistakes, but learn not to repeat them."

Miller also strongly urges students interested in broadcasting to complete their internships at a television station and learn everything they can.

Miller credits Ginny Whitehouse and Mike Ingram, professors in the communication studies department, as influential Whitworth professors.

"Both of them were tough and wouldn't let me slide through their classes without learning the necessary tools to make me a successful journalist," he says. "They were tough graders, and I still call on several things I learned under their guidance."

Miller also says adjunct professor Dawn Bayman was a major influence on his decision to pursue a career in television broadcasting.

At Whitworth, Miller played football and wrote for The Whitworthian. He also hosted a late-night classic rock show on Whitworth's radio station, KWRS. Miller says radio is a fantastic venue for learning how to think quickly and to be an engaging speaker.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contact:

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703, or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.