UNION — A young woman who hopes to have a career in broadcast journalism got to experience some of it shortly before graduating from high school when she spent a day shadowing the host of two area TV shows.
Deonica Thomas, daughter of Shirley Thomas and Roger Craig, graduated from Union County High School in 2012 and is now a student at USC Columbia where she is majoring in broadcast journalism. Thomas said her interest in journalism grew out of her love of storytelling and learning about others and telling their stories.
“I always liked to talk and tell stories and to learn from other people,” Thomas said. “In journalism, you learn other people’s stories and tell them. In broadcast journalism you get to tell those stories or write about them.”
While a student at Union County High School, Thomas took part in a number of journalistic activities including serving as academic editor and fashion page editor for “The Gleam,” the school yearbook and as editor of the UCHS literary magazine, “Reflections.” She was also a member of the school’s morning announcements TV staff.
Thomas got her chance to experience some of what it is like to be in broadcast journalism when she acted on an announcement she heard at school in May.
“One day on the announcements Miss Washington said that anybody who was interested in a job shadowing experience to come to her office,” Thomas said. “I was interested in journalism so I met up with her and talked about it. She came back a week later and said she’d contacted Kimberly Kelly at Your Carolina on WSPA and then we set up a time for me to go.”
Thomas said the show was being filmed in Greenville and when she first arrived it wasn’t Kelly she shadowed but an intern working on the show.
“I went to the Michelin store in Greenville where Your Carolina was filming and I initially shadowed an intern who showed me what she did,” Thomas said. “The intern’s responsibility was to see to it that everyone involved was there on time and that everything went smoothly.”
Thomas didn’t get to meet Kelly until after Your Carolina had finished filming for the day, but when she did she got an invitation to stay for another show.
“I got to meet Kimberly after the show and she invited me to stay for Scene On 7,” Thomas said. “Your Carolina was live and Scene On 7 recorded and I got to see the difference in the two. When filming Scene On 7 they would sometimes stop and reshoot a part. If they would miss a word or need a close up they would stop and reshoot until it was perfect.”
Thomas even got to make a brief appearance on the show.
“I got to sit in the chair with her and she gave a shout out to my school,” Thomas said. “I was on the air for five seconds.”
Thomas also got to meet Kelly’s fellow WSPA host Jack Roper. She described Kelly and Roper as “very friendly.”
After she returned from shadowing Kelly, the teacher who’d arranged for her to do so had her write an essay about her experience. She did, and not only did the essay win her an award, it got her back on TV.
“She entered it in the National Job Shadow Day Essay Contest,” Thomas said. “It won Upstate and then it won state and when it won state I was invited to go to the T.D. Convention Center in Greenville. I was accompanied by Miss Patty Hughey who works at the Career Center and Mr. Lewis. I was given a plaque for my essay. When I won, my picture was on Your Carolina.”
While she only spent a day shadowing Kelly, Thomas said she learned a lot about working in broadcast journalism.
“I learned that to go into journalism it takes a lot of hard work and networking and you’ve got to have really good people skills,” Thomas said. “Not only do you need to know how to talk but how to work behind the camera and the technology.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.