Friday, April 17, Good Morning Memphis anchor and UT alumna Valerie Calhoun shared her experiences and advice on pursuing careers in broadcast media with students of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media.
Valerie Calhoun, who has been a part of the WHBQ-TV Memphis morning show for 20 years, says her job is what she worked so hard for.
“I love it, I can’t imagine doing anything else!” Calhoun said.
The job didn’t come easy. At one point Calhoun was on her own and trying to make things happen.
“My tape was dreadful,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun said the key to her success was her persistence. She put her face in front of a ton of people and told them exactly what she could do. Calhoun said she knocked on the door of every news station she could find and handed out her tapes.
Calhoun said she was told on many occasions she wouldn’t make it in the industry because her “accent and hair were awful.” She finds it humorous now, but at the time it was the spark she needed.
Calhoun is now one of the only students from her broadcasting class that is still on air and has won five Emmy’s for her news specials.
Calhoun shared advice to aspiring journalists on how to make it in the industry. She said the mistake many young people make is thinking they will start at the top and on air. Calhoun said you have to start at the bottom, put in the work, and climb to the top.
Calhoun said to take every job opportunity and be willing to learn and work hard at that job.
“It’s not an easy job, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love it,” Calhoun said about the early mornings and long nights spent to get the job she has now and maintain it.
Calhoun said you must be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, and when it’s done ask what more you can do. She believes that’s how you build credibility.
“It’s easy to stand out if you work hard and ask questions,” Calhoun said.
Edited by Courtney Anderson