ABC News visited Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication last week to host their popular news programs “GMA3” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” from the rooftop of the Cronkite School.
The show flew producers from Washington DC, New York and elsewhere to Phoenix to air the popular Arizona newscasts.
The station’s production team welcomed the opportunity to broadcast from Phoenix and interview politicians and public figures as Arizona is considered a battleground state in the upcoming election. However, the crew’s interaction with the students was one of the highlights of their trip.
“As journalists, we always feel it’s important to go back,” said GMA3 Executive Producer Catherine McKenzie. “So if we can work with a school that has a great program like yours, we thought it would be great to work with you so your students can see how we work and so we can learn from them and see what’s going on they do and do what interests them.”
“GMA3” aired from the rooftop of Cronkite School on Friday, while “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” aired from the same location on Sunday morning.
Before their visit, the show’s staff emailed the students to urge the runners to help the GMA crew throughout the weekend.
Three students arrived at the Cronkite building before 5:30 a.m. on Thursday. The sun wasn’t up yet, but she was.
ABC News producer Dawn Piros got students up on the roof and in headphones as often as possible while the crew rehearsed for the upcoming show. The team perked up and said, “You’re ‘Amy’,” referring to “GMA3” host Amy Robach, or “You’re the ‘guest,'” and faced the appropriate cameras as the students posed for the models perfect camera angles.
“The producers and crew at Good Morning America were so encouraging and welcomed us interns with open arms. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. It’s been really inspiring to be around great people who are passionate about storytelling and caring about their work,” said Cronkite Senior and Student Runner Roxanne De La Rosa.
Perita Carpenter, a production manager at ABC News, said she is impressed with Cronkite News and everything that is available to students at the school.
“GMA3” continued its visit Friday morning with a Q&A session with students at the Cronkite News studios on the sixth floor.
During the 30-minute session, Robach and his colleague TJ Holmes answered questions from students, shared industry advice and described how they overcame obstacles in their careers.
They discussed challenges related to their early years in the industry, work-life balance and health issues, when to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to an opportunity, encounters with racism and discrimination, and how past experiences apply to their current ones Roles have embossed with GMA3.
Robach said there wasn’t one big moment that brought her and Holmes to GMA3, but rather a series of smaller occasions that set them up for the show.
“It’s every one of those little moments that got us where we are now,” she said. “I would never be able to point to a moment and say that was the big moment of my career.”
Holmes also said that all the opportunities he was given, both positive and negative, created a path for him to reach his current position.
“The biggest opportunity was the one I wanted. It was the one I didn’t want. It’s the one I accepted. It’s the one I turned down,” he said.
A handful of students learned valuable lessons from both the Q&A session and volunteering with the presenters and production crew last week and throughout the weekend.
“I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that good things happen when you radiate positivity,” said Cronkite freshman Ian McKinney, who worked with other students to support the GMA3 production crew. “Even when they struggled with a few small technical things on the show, they all stayed very positive. They were like ‘okay, we can fix that’ and weren’t too attached to the problem.”
For Ashley Madrigal, a Cronkite senior who is expected to graduate next spring, supporting the production team and participating in the Q&A provided insight into the opportunities that exist in the broadcast journalism industry and helped her address concerns about of a career after graduation.
“I took my time to ask a question and asked about one of their biggest issues they are facing after graduation,” Madrigal said. “They explained their toughest times but also emphasized that you can get through them and that has really made me feel more comfortable and content that I’m where I need to be and that everything happens for a reason.”