For the past few months, I’ve been discussing the role social media plays in our careers. In this interview, Jenni Hogan offers more valuable input on the topic. Jenni is the traffic anchor on KIRO-7, Seattle’s CBS affiliate, and also hosts social media specials for her station called, “Social7 with Jenni Hogan.” This tech-savvy reporter is the most followed local female TV journalist on Twitter and Facebook in America and was named as one of the top female geeks in the world by the Huffington Post.
In this interview, Jenni gives us some great advice on the importance of networking, landing your dream job, and what she’s learned from her mentors.
Interview with Jenni Hogan, TV Journalist
Q: TV journalism is a difficult field to break into. Can you tell us about the career path you followed to get where you are today and any advice you’ve picked up on landing your dream job?
- Believe: I’ve had a lot of people tell me these four words, “you can do it.” I think that’s the key to anyone getting their dream job, is believing and no matter how hard it seems, if you put it out there, things will start to happen for you. It also takes a lot of hard work and putting yourself around great people you can learn from. But if you can visualize it, you can do it.
- Be patient and work hard: I worked 2 jobs out of college, 7 days a week for 2 years to get my foot in the door of the television industry. Then I moved out to a small television market for my first on-air opportunity. You work hard in your first few years in this industry, you learn and improve weekly, and it’s all for very little money. I looked at that time in my life like I was getting a master’s degree in journalism. I wasn’t out there to make money, I was in this small town to learn and grow.
- Network and then network again: I’ve gotten all of my jobs by emailing, phoning and personally visiting people over and over. My biggest jump in my career was when I moved from Idaho to Oregon. I took a day off work and drove to shake hands with all of the news directors. I semi-stalked them after my visit with numerous phone calls and emails. One finally called me back a few months later and gave me 24 hours to decide if I wanted to move to Portland to be a traffic anchor. It took me 24 seconds to say yes and move from sports to traffic. Networking got me my next job in Seattle, too. After almost a year of emailing every news director in Seattle pretty regularly, I had my first Seattle interview. I moved there 2 weeks later
Q: We all feel pressure to perform at a high level in our careers, and I’m sure that feeling is multiplied when in front of a camera! What are a few of the hardships you’ve faced from being in the public eye and how did you overcome them?
Jenni: The hardest thing about being on TV is trying to break the mold of traditional TV being a one-way communication tool. I look at viewers as my co-workers or teammates so it’s hard when I meet them in public and they know all about me, but I don’t know about their family, children, or situation. Social media has really helped me with this. Being able to get to know our wonderful viewers by talking to them online has really turned my job into a two-way communication relationship rather than a one-way vehicle of information exchange.
Q: Your social media presence has really set you apart in your career field. How did you build such a substantial online community and what advice can you offer women who are looking to do the same within their own professions?
Jenni: It’s funny because as I think about tips on this topic, I realize I built my online community by not trying to build an online community. The most important thing is not to think about it too much and just do it. Get online, be yourself, and do what you can for other people. You will learn as you go along what is right for you and your community. People online are vocal and aren’t scared to tell you what they think or how you can be a better online friend to them. I guess that means being online isn’t all about talking; it’s a lot of listening and observing. I also feel like the more you do for others online, like spreading their message or reaching out to them to say hi, the more you’ll notice you get from really investing your time in this area.
Q: As a career coach I’m always emphasizing the importance of mentorship in career development for women. Describe your most important mentor and how they helped you achieve success.
Jenni: My most important mentors have been my aunt and uncle, Tom Eckmann and Suzanne Keel Eckmann. I had dinners with them every Sunday through college and they have taught me things I use every day now in my career. The biggest three lessons they have taught me are to set expectations for your job and then overachieve them, dream big and tell people your dreams, and finally pay it forward and inspire others to do the same.
Lisa’s Summary: The career lessons Jenni has learned and the advice she now provides others are important for all of us to emulate. What she’s learned: Set your own job expectations and then overachieve them, dream big and tell people your dreams, and pay it forward while inspiring others to do the same. Her advice: Believe in yourself, be patient and work hard, and never forget to network.
Jenni Hogan loves to connect her online community with a good cause and has helped collect $80,000 worth of maternity bras for women in need, more than 75,000 items for babies, $10,000 for cancer research and 4 truckloads of toys for kids. Now that’s what I call paying it forward and inspiring others to do the same!