Lindsey Theis ’07 is settling in to her new role at CNN in Atlanta, using the tools she learned while majoring in broadcast communication at North Central.
Theis began working as a video journalist at the cable news network in December. She previously worked full time as a reporter/producer at Naperville Community Television (NCTV) and part time as a producer at Chicago’s WGN-AM 720.
Her duties at CNN include helping out on daily productions by floor-directing and teleprompting, ensuring anchors have their scripts and sending feeds to other CNN bureaus. In the early going, she’s already worked alongside such anchors and hosts as Robin Meade, Tony Harris, Don Lemon, Kyra Phillips, Heidi Collins and Rick Sanchez.
“It is a great experience working with people who have been in the television news industry longer than I’ve been alive,” Theis says. “I soak up so much knowledge and everyone is very approachable.”
Once offered the job, Theis had to scramble to relocate to Atlanta. Sarah Ackerman ’06, a volunteer with North Central’s Atlanta Alumni Club, helped Theis adjust to her new surroundings.
“Moving to Atlanta was a little crazy,” Theis says. “They wanted me to start right away, so in a matter of about a week and a half, I had to pack up all my things, leave two jobs, find a place in Atlanta—a city I had never been to—move in, get furniture and start the job.”
Theis says her best moment so far has been meeting CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “He’s so kind,” she says. She’s also been training with senior writer and CNN international anchor Ashieh Namdar.
“It’s invaluable experience and I’m grateful for having people take me under their wing and help me grow,” she says. “I have also begun pitching stories that are in the early stages of researching, which will hopefully be on air, or on cnn.com. Maybe it’s because I’m only a month in, but I still pinch myself.”
Theis says her liberal arts education at North Central combined with her early job experiences have helped her get to this point in her career as a broadcast journalist. As a student she was news director of WONC-FM 89.1 and covered President Barack Obama’s visit to campus when he was a U.S. senator. She also interned at Chicago’s WLUP-FM 97.9 and WKQX-FM 101.9. “I am forever grateful for the one-on-one attention and encouragement I received from professors in other disciplines. It didn’t matter what my major was—they all treated me like I was their only student.”
In particular, Theis credits Elizabeth Spencer, senior lecturer of broadcast communication at North Central and executive director of NCTV, with helping her gain important experience in broadcasting.
“She went far beyond teaching me in the classroom and in the studio,” Theis says. “She worked with me countless hours on everything from writing and reporting, to on-camera appearance and interview poise. She didn’t just encourage me to follow my dreams of working in network news—she pushed me to my limits, put the tools in my hands to make them possible and helped me realize I had what I needed in myself to make that dream a reality.”
Theis may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Central NOW Winter 2010