Sports Anchor Bruce Beck educates Becton students on broadcast journalism
Host of Sports Final reminds students to work hard until they find their passion
June 4, 2018
Lead sports anchor for WNBC Mr. Bruce Beck visited Becton Regional High School to speak to students enrolled in the public speaking, journalism and mass media electives about his career in broadcast journalism. The presentation, organized and coordinated by English Teacher Mrs. Lonergan and Freshman Frank Stallone, focused on a number of important points such as the fundamentals of writing news stories.
First and foremost, Mr. Beck informed students that when they are covering any story, they must complete thorough research on the topic. Even as a veteran journalist, he told the audience that he always researches background information on the players that he is scheduled to interview before constructing his stories.The broadcaster also stressed that the real key to writing is rewriting. “There is nothing wrong with writing and rewriting a thousand times because you are only judged on your final product,” he stated.
While covering a story on the retired baseball player, Derek Jeter, Mr. Beck rewrote his story multiple times before he finally perfected it. The sportscaster also rewrites story leads even if they are all on the same topic. This technique is exercised in order to prevent repetition when he reports on sports during different times throughout the same day.
Furthermore, the next piece of advice that students received were the three keys to interviewing their sources. According to Mr. Beck, these are “ask a question that no one else is going to ask, always ask a question that everybody wants to ask and listen and follow up.”
He further elaborated that if a reporter’s questions do not match up with the direction that the interview is going in, one has to think quickly and improvise new questions. “Questions do not have to be long to be effective, and whoever you are interviewing, give them some love,” he said.
In addition, the speaker taught Becton students that, like other journalists, they have to remain objective when reporting news. Mr. Beck gives equal attention and respect to every team that he covers, but his favorites will always be the New York Yankees and the New York Giants. His most memorable interviews were with Derek Jeter after he retired from baseball and Dennis Rodman who played for the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons basketball teams.
Moreover, the guest speaker modeled various scenarios to teach them special broadcasting skills such as reading news to a specific audience and reporting news accurately. Seniors Lauren Kaszka and Tyler Koch volunteered for the first exercise where they were asked to present news pieces to the student and faculty group in attendance. “It’s not just reading, it’s delivering. It’s interpreting words,” said Mr. Beck.
Afterwards, he praised their ability to project their voices while making the news more appealing to their audience and took a moment to give them tips on how to better their skills. He reminded students to “deliver it with passion and vigor” but not to the point where they are perceived as insincere. The broadcaster also taught students to speak as if they were walking into someone’s home and talking with them, not at them.
The next exercise was completed by two student volunteers, Anthony Thomas and Patrick Cao. The seniors were asked to recite information featuring different teams’ sports scores. The only catch was that they were required to read their facts and figures without getting distracted while someone was speaking to them in their ear. The sports anchor explained that this technique demonstrates how broadcasters have to read the news while also taking directions from others through an earpiece.
Toward the conclusion of the presentation, Mr. Beck allowed students to ask him any questions that they may have. When asked what he thought helped him get to where he is in his career, he replied with “paying attention to details, building relationships that will last a lifetime with people that he interviews and works with, and loving what he does for a living.”
The sports broadcaster is also very passionate about teaching kids at the Bruce Beck Sports Broadcasting Camp, an educational setting where he teaches aspiring broadcasters the tricks of the trade. He stated to everyone, especially seniors heading off to college, that they should take advantage of any opportunities that they may be introduced to in the field of work that they are interested in pursuing. Even if they do not immediately receive the job or position that they are hoping for, they should follow any opportunities. His example was that if athletes are not offered specific positions on a team that they may originally want, it is still a great chance if they do not close their mind to other openings in that line of work.
“You don’t have to be a superstar. You just have to work hard, and you’ll find your passion,” Mr. Beck announced.