Written by Taylor Moore
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville has various stand out college programs, especially within the College of Communication and Information. Many students have gone on to get jobs at the world’s largest publications and television media. One southern girl, Brittney Bryant, proves you can make the most of UT’s communication program and land a pretty amazing job.
UT alumna, Brittney Bryant, is a meteorologist at the Mid-South’s leading multi-media company at WMC Action News 5 in Memphis, Tennessee. Nevertheless, this goal-driven young woman didn’t get where she is without putting in the work.
Bryant graduated from Ridgeway High School in 2007 in east Memphis. Her college selection process in her senior year didn’t exactly go as planned.
“I had all these different schools I applied to. Most of them were out of state; I think UT was the only school I applied to that was in state,” Bryant said. “When it really came down to it, I started looking into costs versus gain.”
With hopes to attend an out-of-state college, Bryant realized that a degree from an out of state college wouldn’t be as valuable as a degree from UT in “one of the finest journalism programs in the U.S,” as stated by Bryant. She visited the campus and fell head over Tennessee hills.
“The broadcasting program was fantastic,” Bryant said. “For someone that lives in Tennessee, you cannot beat the value and the gain that you get from going to the University of Tennessee.”
Bryant honed her skills in broadcasting, writing and reporting during her time at UT.
“As far as learning to be a better broadcaster, Dr. Swan was really great at showing us what needed to be done in order for you to be better; be more creative, do more stand-ups, do more things, etcetera.”
Dr. Swan, director of internationalization and outreach, is still a vital part of the communication program many students come in contact with during their time here. Bryant took two classes from Dr. Swan: TV news reporting and producing. He said Bryant worked hard in school to get where she is.
“She was very personable, excellent on-camera skills and a great student. She took advantage of all opportunities including a special trip to New York to tour the networks.”
Bryant realized that she didn’t have to stay in the broadcast bubble when it came to joining media outlets. She wrote for the Tennessee Journalist and was on WUTK 90.3 The Rock.
“Benny Smith at WUTK is one of the best people,” Bryant said. “He literally just pushes you to be better. He welcomed me into that station. He eventually promoted me to music director there to pick different music and talk to different promoters from record labels. And he made it to where I even got a paycheck eventually. It also really helped me work on my broadcast voice.”
Benny Smith is the general manager and program director for Volunteer Radio 90.3 The Rock. He shared a lot about “Brittney B,” the name she became known as on the air and around the station.
“Brittney was part of a very successful music department group while here, and she did a fantastic job for us. She learned how to juggle many responsibilities, and it was a rare occasion that I ever had to remind her of what was needing done as far as her respective tasks,” Smith said. “ I admired her even-headed approach to her tasks, and her determination to make sure a job that she started was also completed, and in the way we needed it to be done. She did an amazing job while here, and we miss her.”
By the time she was a junior, Bryant knew she wanted to be a meteorologist.
“I suggested a master’s degree offered by Mississippi State,” Swan said. “And that’s what she did.”
Bryant graduated in 2011 with her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Information with a focus in broadcast news and went to Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi for meteorology.
It was a tough four years for Bryant. Physics, math and other complex things went into her major, but by the end of the program, she knew those subjects had made an impact on her as a broadcast meteorologist.
“Thankfully from UT, I already knew how to do the broadcast side of things. I already had my broadcast voice and look.”
While at MSU, Bryant was an instructor for the beginning TV production class and enrolled in a storm chasing class where she was taught how to follow tornadoes while out in the field.
Bryant got a job in South Carolina straight out of school in 2014 at WMBF-TV where she did traffic on the weekdays and weather on the weekend. Although it was enough pay to cover living expenses, there wasn’t much money left for anything outside of that. Because of this, she had to nanny on the side.
She later transferred to her current job and was later promoted.
Bryant credits her inspiration for becoming a meteorologist to her stepfather Brian Teigland, who was also a Memphis meteorologist.
“I got to grow up having someone who could answer my questions about the weather. He really sparked my interest in weather,” she said. “I was really scared to go on with this path and follow in his footsteps, but he was always super encouraging and with him being in this business, I had a lot of allies at UT and at Mississippi State.”
Bryant advises students to network and meet people who can help you get to the pinnacle of success. She found out about a lot of different jobs and opportunities through people she went to school with or people she had met at internships.
“Find someone that can mentor you and already has that job you want,” Bryant said. “Chances are, that person would love to help you.”
In addition to being a meteorologist, Bryant also has a fashion blog that she started in college. She got into it at MTSU so she could tell people what they want to know, which is what to wear based on the weather.
“It’s nice to have something that’s just yours. It’s likely going to be something that makes you happy.”
Bryant advises those wanting to achieve their dreams to hustle. She worked endlessly to know everything about the business front and back. The more you know, the more successful you’re going to be and the more people are going to respect you.
“If you want to be on top, every single day you have to be working to be better,” Bryant said. “No one is going to work as hard for you as you work for yourself. It’s not easy, and it can be stressful, but there’s a lot of reward in this business.”
Featured image courtesy of Taylor Moore
Edited by Taylor Owens