by Thornton Collier
Norfolk State University’s Mass Communications and Journalism Department has been flourishing for many years getting their students more prepared for the real world. It is easy to tell each student will have their own path and the key to succeeding is to never give up.
Joe Cook was an NSU student from 2007-2009 spending most of his time working in the NSU TV production studio.
“I graduated from NSU in 2009, but it took me three years to break into the business. During that three-year period, I used the skills I learned from my internships and teachers to freelance. I started a regional sports website, was a color commentator for NSU basketball when they made the NCAA tournament in 2012, and did wedding videos and other projects while working as a part-time production assistant job at WVEC,” Cook said.
Cook made it clear that it was not easy, but he stayed persistent in the process and ended up as a sportscaster in Alaska.
“My job in Alaska came out of the blue,” Cook said.” I received an email in September of 2012 as if I already applied for an open position at KTVF in Fairbanks, Alaska. I was like what? Who?! Alaska?!” Cook said. This was a place with conditions that might shock almost anyone.
“I never thought I’d experience -40 degree temperatures and sunlight at 2 a.m. in the summer, but I can say that now. It’s an adventure,” Cook said.” But I don’t regret my decision as I’ve gained a ton of life experiences and built relationships in and outside of the industry.”
For the past three years, Cook has been in Alaska, where he recently was promoted to the position of Head Sports Director. He serves as a one man show that has utilized his skills learned at Norfolk State to shoot, produce, edit, anchor, etc. Joe understood that the process may take a while.
“My advice for people looking to get into sports broadcasting, television, or whatever, is to never give up,” Cooks said.” You have to be patient in the growth process and realize that wherever you start is not where you will finish. Stay confident in yourself and your abilities, but always look for ways to improve.”