Paula Rizzo (B.A. ’02)
Q & A:
What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My fondest memories were definitely in Dempster Hall putting together our news packages and writing scripts in Professor Cathy Krein’s classes. There was such a great group of students in those broadcast journalism classes. We all worked together and helped each other out – it was a great “newsroom” experience. Shooting our 9/11 special with Professor Winston Mitchell shortly after September 11, 2001 was one of the best projects I worked on at Hofstra. We wrote an entire newscast and anchored it from the Brooklyn promenade overlooking the forever-changed skyline. I also got to meet President Bill Clinton when he and then US Senate-hopeful Hillary Clinton visited the campus. That was a real highlight.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
While in my last semester at Hofstra, I was hired as a news writer for WLNY-TV55. I would go to classes in the mornings and then drive to Melville to work on the 11pm newscast. The greatest part of working at WLNY was the camaraderie in the newsroom. On top of learning to line-produce by hand, meet deadlines and craft stories, the best part was knowing that you can really love what you do and who you work with. Turns out I met my husband in that newsroom - go figure!
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I originally thought I wanted to pursue a career in print journalism, but after taking one broadcast class at Hofstra I was hooked. By nature I’m a news junkie, so it wasn’t hard to figure out which specialty would be right for me. I’ve been working in television and web news production since I graduated in 2002. Currently I work at Fox News Channel as a senior health producer for FoxNews.com. I produce packages and in-studio interviews on everything from surgeries to fitness classes. But throughout my career, I have covered general news at WLNY, WPIX and WCBS.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Take advantage of everything Hofstra has to offer – it’s a great way to explore what you really want to do with your life before you have to go out into the “real world.” The best thing you can possibly do is get a great internship. So many times it leads to your first job. Take a chance, put it out there, you just never know. Make contacts and always keep in touch with people. Don’t burn any bridges – it turns out it really is a small world.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra? Cultivating
What gave you the idea to start ListProducer.com?
I’m a compulsive list maker – I always have been. But it really helped me in the newsroom as I was working on several projects with one deadline after another. I also use lists in my home life. When my husband and I were looking for an apartment, I made a checklist of everything we needed to pay attention to when we visited each place. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget what each apartment looked like. We found a great place and friends started asking for my checklists. That’s when I thought it might be a good idea to start ListProducer.com and share some of my list-making secrets with others to help them become more productive, successful and efficient in all areas of their lives.
What is the single most rewarding/exciting experience in your career thus far?
Winning an Emmy Award for best newscast while I was an associate producer at WPIX was one of the best moments of my career. You get a sense of validation for all the hard work and effort you put in newscast after newscast. It’s nice to be recognized in that way. And having an Emmy Award in your house is a really great conversation piece ;) .
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see your career progressing to in the future?Writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I’d like to write several books – both non-fiction and fiction. But I love TV news production too much to ever be too far from it. I could see myself producing more lifestyle and health content in the future. It’s a great fit for my personality: deadline-oriented and inquisitive.