Kristen Ledlow, former host of The Good News Show in Tallahassee, gained hands-on training, networking skills at Southeastern
A year-and-a-half before Kristen Ledlowgraduated from Southeastern, she knew what job she wanted in the broadcasting field.
Ledlow wanted to be a sports reporter, or an anchor for ESPN. A former volleyball captain at Southeastern, she had to get an internship at a big enough organization to help propel her into the kind of job she wanted come graduation. One summer, Ledlow interned at the NBC affiliate in Orlando. The next summer the 2010 grad interned at ESPN in Los Angeles. After her internship, WTXL, the ABC affiliate in Tallahassee, Florida, hired Ledlow to host a new, Today Show-type program. The show, The Good News Show, premiered on September 13, 2010.
Ledlow, now a college football and basketball reporter for Fox Sports, attributes her great first job to the professional skills and spiritual education she received-and practiced-at Southeastern.
"I have told so many people that being at Southeastern was a blessing because I got to be hands-on with all the broadcast equipment starting my freshman year," said Ledlow, who majored in communication and broadcasting. "My experience...was priceless."
During her senior year, Ledlow wrote, hosted, arranged interviews, scheduled production crews, and helped edit the sports segments for Southeastern's Weekly Update, a round-up of news and events, on the university's television station, the Fire Network. Ledlow said the opportunities Southeastern gave her to host and produce segments enabled her to present impressive work to potential employers.
In another opportunity, Ledlow worked as the media host of the 2010 Sunscreen Festival in St. Petersburg. There, throughout the days of the festival, she interviewed actor John Travolta and other big names from Hollywood. Ledlow used that on-camera interview, and other segments she hosted or produced to create the reel that helped her get her first job. Many communication graduates in the country have to wait until they get their first job to create a good reel, Ledlow said. At Southeastern, she was able to create the reel before she graduated.
In addition to the hands-on experience, Ledlow says the spiritual teaching and encouragement she gained through Southestern's chapel services and athletic coaches prepared her for the competitive field of broadcasting.
Ledlow said God called her to Southeastern. As a second-semester freshman, she transferred from a state school where she had a full, academic scholarship; she transferred because at her other school, she couldn't identify one thing she was passionate about, she said, but Southeastern changed the way she saw the world. Before, she was self-centered, but at Southeastern she learned that a Christian's purpose is to serve others.
Ledlow also learned to be passionate about life through her volleyball coach Terry Thomas. Coach Thomas taught her how to be a leader-how to show up every day with joy to encourage others, she said.
Ledlow also attributes her professional success to networking skills she learned though Southeastern's Department of Communication and its professors. She learned how to network though a seminar class taught by communication and journalism professor Chad Neuman, and connections led her to an internship with ESPN in Los Angeles just before she was hired as a TV host.
Networking skills she traces to Southeastern also helped her land her job with the ABC affiliate in Tallahassee, she said. When Ledlow was home at a basketball game in Tallahassee, she met the sports director at WTXL. After she put together a collection of her best clips, she sent it to him. The sports director then passed Ledlow's reel to the station's general manager, who was looking for someone to host The Good News Show. Ledlow was invited in for an interview, and on August 2, she started work.
Ledlow says her first job was a great job because the chance to host a television show as a new grad is a great launching pad for a career.
"God took me to Southeastern to open the doors that He wanted to open," she said. "I didn't expect this opportunity right out of college."