Mike Leslie ‘10
1) What are you doing now?
Right now I am working at WGGB-TV, a television station in Springfield, MA that is both the ABC and FOX affiliate in the market. I am one of two guys in the Sports Department, which basically means that I am the Weekend Sports Anchor. I also help produce during the week, I edit video, I shoot video, and I put together packages (short, 90-second to 2-minute stories) on different athletes around the area.
2) What were some of your learning experiences outside the classroom that prepared you for where you are today?
You know, I learned a lot in my classes, between Professor Smith, and Professor Roth, and Professor Papper. But they say you really learn how to do this by actually doing it. WRHU was huge for that, and that’s probably where I learned the most, because I had the chance to actually get in front of a microphone, on multiple occasions, and really learn how to be an on-air talent. But the internships are huge, too. I had internships near my home in Albany, NY and also in New York City. Those internships were a huge help, because you get a chance to meet people that are doing this at a very high level, such as Andrea Kremer, Brendan Tierney, Bill Daughtry, and Michael Kay. You also get to learn why those people are at that level.
A lot of times, you watch those types of people on the radio, or you see them on television, and you know they’re good. But to get a real sense of why they are good at what they do, sometimes it really takes getting on location, and watching them in person, rather than through a camera lens. That was one of the things I took away from my internships. But truth be told, there’s no substitute for actually getting on the air yourself, and finding your own style. Without the chance to do that, there’s no way to know how to get better.
3) How crucial do you think your internship experiences and those connections you made were once you graduated?
You know networking is a funny thing. I had internships on Long Island, in New York City, in Albany, and I had jobs in and around all of those areas over the course of college. Not one of those connections is what got me a job. It was merely that I was a Hofstra student. Another Hofstra student, Shannon Hegy, works here at WGGB as a news anchor. The Sports Director here asked her to send an e-mail to her professors asking for someone who could do sports. Shannon e-mailed Professor Greg Smith, Professor Smith e-mailed me, and the rest was history. But networking is hugely important because even if those other connections were not what got me the job this time potential future jobs could hinge on people I know from those jobs and internships.
4) How did Hofstra prepare you for where you are today?
Without my four years at Hofstra, I’m wouldn’t be where I am right now. Between WRHU, Hofstra TV and my Journalism classes, I was able to get in front of the camera or microphone enough to the point where I truly feel comfortable doing this, day in and day out. My four years at Hofstra have everything to do with that.
5) Where do you see yourself in five years?
Haha, you know I’ve joked about this a lot the last couple years, saying that I’ll be working for ESPN. Of course, I’d be lying if I said anything other than that I’d be thrilled if that were the case. But I just want to concentrate on getting better and preparing myself for steps 2, 3, 4, and so on, whenever those steps come, and whatever those steps are. In the meantime, I’m having an absolute blast where I am.