Walking to the student media center and into the NewsWatch room, one can immediately feel the excitement around the room.
It’s only around 3:45 in the afternoon as everyone is preparing to go on air. Chandler Morgan, a senior anchor at NewsWatch, laughs with her co-workers as they run around the student media center.
There are boys in suits getting ready to anchor sports, girls scrambling around putting videos together, and Chandler Morgan putting together her weather piece she has planned for the day.
She adds her own flair to it as Valentine’s Day is coming up by complementing her weather presentation with festive designs. The crew does not go on air until 5p.m but it is very important that everyone comes in a couple of hours before to prepare.
Any student is welcomed to audition for a NewsWatch, but for many broadcast journalism majors it can be sneak peak of what their future career could be like.
“It’s also the easiest way to get really good experience and good work examples. So, I encourage really all my students to really get involved with student media and to do so immediately,” said Vanessa Gregory, an assistant journalism professor at the University of Mississippi.
It has allowed students like Chandler Morgan; a current first semester senior broadcast journalism major with a minor in English, to learn many things for her future opportunities in the field.
Chandler Morgan grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and was involved in many extracurricular activities including dance, gymnastics and cheerleading. She has always been drawn into sports or activities where she could perform, which ultimately lead to her love of camera reporting and broadcast journalism.
Chandler Morgan admits watching the evening news with her family before dinner after practices and studying anchors like Diane Sawyer and Jovita Moore report the Atlanta news.
“Jovita Moore, she is everything I embodied to be,” Morgan said. “She’s an amazing reporter. However, she’s so confident on camera in the way she speaks so clearly. She’s very good at emotionally connecting the viewer with the story.”
Chandler Morgan’s high school did not have a student news station so once she came to the University of Mississippi in 2013; she became extremely involved in the Meek School of Journalism. Chandler Morgan originally auditioned for NewsWatch, which was NewsWatch 99 at the time. It was only her freshman year, but in the end, she auditioned four more times over the years. After five tries, she made the cut and received a callback in August 2015 for the anchor position.
If the students are really serious about improving they need to really give if their all right from the beginning of their college careers admits Vanessa Gregory.
Chandler Morgan admits the biggest highlight of her college career has been anchoring for NewsWatch.
“Having wanted to pursue this dream for so long really makes me appreciate my position as anchor at NewsWatch so much more and constantly drives me to increase, better and perfect my skills as a journalist,” said Morgan.
Even as a deans honor roll student, she continues to stay busy, an active member of Alpha Omicron Pi, where she has served on the Executive Recruitment Council. She also is actively involved in organizations like Order of Omega Greek Honor Society, the Gamma Beta Pi Society, and the Society of Professional Journalists.
“Honestly, I am very devoted to everything I involve myself in,” she said. ”Although I am involved in a lot, I am extremely organized with time management. One thing I have definitely seen myself develop is a system on prioritizing and knowing just how much I can get myself into at once,” says Chandler Morgan, who spends her free time running, to release any stress from school and work.
Chandler Morgan continues to take every opportunity she can get her hands on, to learn more tools about the field. This past football season she worked for an Ole Miss game along with some of her fellow classmates for CBS Sports broadcasts. They were able to shadow and experience first-hand of being a sports correspondent for CBS as well as watch the game from the sidelines.
“Chandler and the other students who interned for CBS sports were students of mine. They were obviously good students but what set them apart was their ambition and their eagerness to cease learning opportunities outside of class. And if you’re going to pursue a career in journalism you really need that real world experience,” said Vanessa Gregory.
Chandler Morgan was able to see the entertainment production element of the broadcast industry by experiencing even more behind the scenes work in helping produce The Voice in Memphis in January.
Chandler Morgan has been able to make great connections with her co-workers at the University of Mississippi through NewsWatch, as well.
“I did work closely with Chandler. She’s so positive and fun that coming in and getting to hang out with her while we worked honestly made my day better,” said Kelsey Davis, a junior sports anchor for NewsWatch alongside Chandler. “And she was always so encouraging. Even when I made mistakes, she would be the first one to reassure me with something positive.”
With her college career at the University of Mississippi ending in December 2017, Chandler Morgan is getting ready to prepare for her future after school. She wants to strengthen her expertise in sports broadcasting with the time she has left, since she has worked closely with CBS Sports.
Chandler Morgan wants to be the best in everything she can do and continue to share her love of journalism.
“One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to know people, and know their story,” she said. “If I can make them feel more comfortable in any way then I know that I have done my job ultimately. Everyone deserves respect. Absolutely everyone.”