Elon broadcast news alum Scott McCrary broke down breaking news

By Erin Valentine

Scott McCrary speaks with Elon students, Photo by Erin Valentine

Scott McCrary speaks with Elon students,                    Photo by Erin Valentine

Scott McCrary, Elon broadcast news alum, rarely has a boring work day. McCrary has worked in Washington D.C. for years, and he has found contentment in his work.

Having been with CBS, a communications director for the U.S. House of Representatives and, currently, a freelance television producer for CNN, Bloomberg and CBS, McCrary has become a pro in the broadcast industry.

“I go to work and we start the day, and then the whole day gets thrown up in the air,” said Scott McCrary, Elon broadcast news alum. “The bigger the story, the more challenging it is. It’s an adrenaline rush.”

On Wednesday, he sat down with students and talked about the best ways to handle breaking news and how to approach something similar to the recent Naval Yard shootings.

McCrary gave useful advice for anyone wanting to enter into the media business. He discussed how when a story, such as the Nayal Yard shootings, occurs, getting credible ad valuable information is key. Then, you have to find stories in the facts and begin to cover those as soon as possible and get them to your viewers.

As his audience consisted mostly of budding journalists, McCrary told of some ways to avoid common mistakes that new journalists tend to make.

“There is a really important question you should always ask when breaking news has first started. And that is, ‘Do we know this?” McCrary said.

Infographic by Erin Valentine

Infographic by Erin Valentine

Instead of itching to get on to a scene, new reporters should also be able to be of value right in the office. “Sometimes you need to need to stay at your desk and start looking at Google Maps,” McCrary said.

“Stay calm,” said McCrary. “The world will flip out around you, and you are be the voice of reason if you’re just calmly going about your business. The bosses will notice that, and that will work in your favor in the long run.”

McCrary was also able to give his audience an idea of the life of a freelance television producer. According to McCrary, producers can do anything and will do anything. They organize the work the reporters do and bring people into the studio.

“We’re kind of a little bit like MacGyver.,” said McCrary. “If you give us some chewing gum and a paper clip, we can generally get you on TV.”

As additional information, McCrary gave his audience some tips on how to look at the media today. From approaching your job as a class for your Masters to knowing a little about everything, McCrary’s talk was chockfull of advice.

However, he wanted students to remember that essentially news relies on ratings.

“At the end of the day, media is a business,” said McCrary.


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