CHRIS ALLEN – SUPERVISING PRODUCER – WGN-TV – AUGUST 7, 2013 – 9:30 AM – LOMBARD, IL
Chris Allen is a native Chicagoan who went to Mississippi State for college. Upon taking a class in media he knew that he wanted to get into broadcasting.
Chris secured a summer internship at WGN-TV and made it a point to distinguish himself by doing more than what was expected. He impressed WGN execs so much that they offered him an opportunity to go to the 1996 Democratic Convention that year. Chris had to turn the offer down in order to return to his college but he made it a point to stay in touch with WGN management.
Upon graduating from Mississippi State, Chris applied for a writing internship at WGN-TV. He was invited to take the internship and that opportunity turned into a freelance paid position as a writer. Even though it was freelance, Chris worked over 40 hours a week for seven years when he was promoted to a staff-writer for WGN-TV News.
The staff-writer position provided Chris an opportunity to learn how to produce and then WGN-TV promoted Chris to be the producer of the WGN Morning Newscast. After doing that for about 4 years Chris was promoted to a producer position for the 9 PM Newscast ( the major WGN Newscast of the day – seen not only in Chicago but nationwide). Chris then was promoted to Supervising Producer and he looks forward to someday becoming the Executive Producer and eventually a News Director. So he has been with WGN-TV for 18 years, never had to leave the Chicago market and it all started with that important internship opportunity.
Chris encouraged the students to take their internship opportunities seriously and do as he did – SHINE – so that management truly values their contributions. Interns who play games on their phones or envelop themselves in texting and emailing during their shifts are not taken seriously. Interns who note that their objective is to be an anchor are not taken seriously. Instead, Chris suggested that those who want to be anchors, keep that to themselves and instead note their dream as a reporter. Reporters have to do the grunt work to get to the anchor desk and are taken seriously by managers who are committed to serving the community as well as their employers.
Chris reminded students that they’re “disseminators of information” and with that responsibility comes the importance of being fair, accurate and unbiased when reporting news material.
Chris was asked what new jobs have come on the horizon with the advent of the Internet. Mr. Allen replied that WGN – like many other terrestrial broadcasters – have begun to hire producers and reporters for Internet streaming newscasts that are solely available via the web. The Internet per Chris is opening up all sorts of new opportunities for broadcasters so the future is bright for those that apply themselves and take advantage of internship opportunities to make essential network connections and possibly to develop mentors who will help a novice broadcaster attain a position of employment that turns into a career – similar to what happen to Chris Allen (18 year veteran of WGN-TV).