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Breaking the News

Written by Stephanie Khoury

David Muir '95

David Muir ’95

As a child, David Muir ’95 was often glued to the local evening news. He would watch closely as Ron Curtis, the “Walter Cronkite of Syracuse,” reported the top stories of the day. Muir envisioned himself sitting behind the same wooden desk facing the camera alongside Curtis.

“I was honored that the television- radio seniors were willing to take a chance on a fresh-faced kid who’d just arrived.”

Today, at 40, Muir has taken his childhood dream to the national level, becoming the anchor for ABC World News after longtime journalist Diane Sawyer stepped down. He is the youngest person ever to anchor the evening news on a national broadcast.
Muir’s dream began to materialize when he came to the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. His freshman year he auditioned for the evening newscast on ICTV and landed one of the lead anchor slots. “I was honored that the television- radio seniors were willing to take a chance on a fresh-faced kid who’d just arrived,” said Muir.

Over the next three years, Muir continued to excel in and out of the classroom. The opportunities he had at Ithaca College allowed him to find his bearings as a storyteller and his voice as a reporter.
“As a journalism major, I remember sitting in the front row, listening to visiting speakers from the various networks,” he said. “I’d hang on their every word, hoping that one day I’d join their ranks.”
Muir’s first correspondent position brought him to WCVB in Boston, Massachusetts. But shortly thereafter he returned to Syracuse, New York, to report for his hometown station, WTVH. In 2003 he joined ABC as an overnight news anchor, where his career in national news took off. In 2011, Muir became the sole anchor of the weekend edition of ABC’s evening newscasts. His work included traveling to Mogadishu to report on a devastating famine and taking viewers on a 100-mile trek from Somalia to refugee camps in Kenya.
This fall he took over the weekday broadcasts of ABC World News. He also continues in his coanchor position on 20/20 and is the managing editor for World News. While there are some who question the future of broadcast news, Muir pointed out that more than 25 million viewers still tune in each night. Muir said it’s exciting to see how viewers can collaborate with journalists through social media.
“It’s knocked down the barriers that once existed with network news,” he said. “I’m getting immediate feedback, and I try to tweet back to viewers during commercial breaks. At any given moment, a viewer can reach out, weigh in, and in many cases inspire the next question I ask on the air.” Muir is just one of several successful alumni in broadcast news across the country. You can read some of their stories here.

Kyle Clark ’05—KUSA, Denver 

Kyle Clark said that when he arrived at IC, he headed right to the signup session at ICTV. “Diving right in, I got a true taste of TV news. For some students, it wasn’t at all how they’d imagined it. But me, I got hooked,” said Clark.
After graduating from IC, he got his first job working at WHAM in Rochester, New York. Now he is a correspondent for KUSA in Denver, Colorado. Clark said he prefers working in local news not only for the close connection he has with viewers but also for the chance to have a work/life balance.

“The floods were a serious threat, and people wanted good information. They didn’t care if it came from a guy in a suit or a flannel shirt.”

“I like to do a lot of things outside work,” he said. “A network job isn’t conducive to that.” Even at a local station, a broadcast journalist can expect to work long hours occasionally. During 12 hours of live flood coverage for KUSA, Clark remembers getting soaked while reporting in the middle of the storm and then returning to the studio desk wearing the only dry top he could find—a flannel shirt.
“We got absolutely no negative feedback on the way I looked,” Clark said. “The floods were a serious threat, and people wanted good information. They didn’t care if it came from a guy in a suit or a flannel shirt.”
As a result of his work ethic and determination, Clark was honored with several regional Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Matt Wright ’10—WJW FOX 8 NEWS, Cleveland

While at IC Matt Wright interned for NBC at the Beijing Olympics, working alongside Bob Costas. He even got to work on site at the race where Michael Phelps earned his eighth gold medal. “It was such a rewarding experience to be there and be a part of such an international event ” he said. “I credit Ithaca with giving me that opportunity.”
His first job after IC took him to WTOL in Toledo, Ohio, where he interviewed the wife of a man who had been having health issues.
“It took the fire department half an hour to respond [to their call], and in that time the gentleman had passed away. In part, through our coverage, the city brought in more emergency responders during overnight hours,” he said.
That story landed Wright a regional Emmy nomination. One day he hopes to report for a major network, as Muir does.

Kelsey Anderson ’13—KBOI 2, Boise

Local stories often end up getting national coverage. Three months after graduating from IC, Kelsey Anderson joined the KBOI 2 news team in Boise, Idaho, and found herself covering one of the largest and most controversial national news stories at the time. Idaho native Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was about to be returned to U.S. custody after being traded for five Taliban detainees. KBOI was one of the first news stations to cover the story, and Anderson was reporting alongside major network names such as Bigad Shaban from CBS and Nick Valencia from CNN.

“I had a camera in my hand the day I started my sophomore year. I got to do it all in Newswatch."

“Not only was I reporting right next to some of the biggest names in broadcast journalism, but I was also talking about an extremely controversial subject and had about a fourth of the crew and supplies they did. But I was keeping up,” said Anderson.
An anchor for ICTV, Anderson said she developed her instant decision-making skills during her time working for IC’s Newswatch 16. “With Newswatch, I had a camera in my hand the day I started my sophomore year. I got to do it all in Newswatch, too,” she said. “It helped me be ahead of the game once I started my internships and put a lot more on my reel for job applications,” she continued
Anderson worked with the Park School’s internship coordinator to secure summer internships with WKBW in Buffalo, her hometown, and WENY in Horseheads, New York. “If I hadn’t done the internships, I know I wouldn’t have been prepared for the work world,” she said. “I’ve learned more this past year than I ever expected, and I have had the chance to report, produce, and even anchor. I’m constantly pushing myself, and I know that my hard work here will only pay off in the long run.”



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