Live To Inspire: Jennifer Sanders ’07

January 22, 2015

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Jennifer Sanders loves telling stories. More than anything, she enjoys giving the voiceless a voice. As weekend anchor for NewsChannel 9 WSYR in Syracuse, NY, Sanders ’07 said being a reporter combines her love of storytelling and meeting new people. Growing up in San Antonio, Sanders always admired local broadcast personalities.

“I watched how reporters like Tanji Patton and Bridget Smith brought life to their stories,” Sanders said. “They were able to cover the bad along with the good. They made the news visual. I always wanted a career where I could meet people and tell stories. With my job, I can help people raise awareness.”

Before WSYR, Sanders worked at Tribune Broadcasting with the CW Network in Dallas, as well as 12 Media KXII Television in Sherman, Texas. While she admits being a news anchor can be stressful at times, Sanders said her years of behind-the-camera work still serve her well.

“When I first started out, I was driving to small towns in Texas and Oklahoma shooting and writing my own stories,” Sanders said. “I was lugging around a 50-pound camera and a tripod, and then I’d go back to the studio and run the teleprompter. I was a one-woman band. It was a struggle, but I got the stories and learned how to edit video. I eventually got my foot into the No. 5 market—Dallas. This industry is ever changing. The more skills you have, the better off you’ll be.”

As the industry continues to evolve and news outlets are rethinking how viewers consume news, Sanders said she and her colleagues dedicate themselves to generating the best possible coverage.

“Social media makes everyone a ‘journalist’ these days,” Sanders said. “News agencies pride ourselves on delivering facts and we’re trained to do the news. We operate in a factual realm and we trust our coverage. We owe it to our viewers to give them facts.”

With plans to eventually earn her Ph.D. in communication studies, Sanders said she’s staying in broadcast for as long as someone will offer her opportunities.

“I would love to one day have a career like Lisa Ling and do international journalism, traveling from small communities to large countries,” Sanders said. “My TLU experience taught me to be a dreamer and a doer. I was encouraged so much to think outside the box and supported by everyone there. My professors not only knew me, they prepared me. I believe graduate school came easier to me because of the research I did at TLU. The professors teach a person to be well rounded and they gave me the confidence I needed to succeed.”

While connecting with industry professionals and internships solidified her decision to pursue news, Sanders said the connections she made with professors and peers were just as important.

“I wanted to do something special with my life,” Sanders said. “TLU prepared me for that.”

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