Meet Your IPC: Natalie Hurst

board-hurstNatalie is one of the newest members of the Idaho Press Club board having joined the statewide board this spring as our TV representative. We welcome her aboard!

Age: 38
Job: Anchor, CBS 2 News-KBCI
Education: B.A., Ohio Wesleyan University (print journalism/French). M.A. Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism (broadcast journalism)
Hometown: Bethesda, MD
Family: Parents, no siblings

Q: Describe your career path, how you got to where you are today.

A: After Ohio Wesleyan, I moved to Syracuse, N.Y. Worked there from 1992-1998 first as editor of the Skaneateles Press, and freelancing for the Syracuse Herald Tribune. Then worked for four years for PBS affiliate WCNY in the Educational Services Department. In 1999, I went back to grad school at Northwestern. Then worked three years in Yakima, WA; three years in Green Bay, WI and finally the past four years in Boise.

Q: You started out in print journalism.  Why did you decide to switch to TV news?

A: “In the late ’90s, I saw the concept of 24-hour breaking news begin to really take off. I was worried about the future of my career and how the field of journalism was evolving. I switched to broadcasting to retain my writing skills, yet take on a whole new set of talents, with the visual component.”

Q: There is a lot of talk these days about the future of the media – print and broadcast.  What’s your perspective? What do you think traditional media outlets need to do to compete in the world today?

A: “We can have all the flash we want, but if we don’t have credibility, our viewers and readers won’t respect us. While we may become more creative in the ways we deliver the news to the consumer, the mechanics through which we obtain our stories, write them and deliver them should hold true to what Murrow and Cronkite have taught us.”

Q: With a lot of negative talk about the economy and the future of traditional media, how do you stay motivated?

A: “I love Boise! And I honestly love this profession. I truly believe we have a lot of amazing people working in this city, and for me, everyday is an adventure … no matter how bad the headlines are!”

Q: What role, if any, do you think social media/social networking sites should play in traditional newsrooms?

A: “We’re seeing a shift not only in our newsrooms, but within society. To turn our back on the social networking sites would be like my parents’ generation trying to ignore the emergence of color TV. How we interact and connect with each other is changing, and that relationship is blurring into the workplace. It isn’t uncommon to see people posting story ideas on their own personal site. In today’s world, if we get the story idea from there, is that so different than someone calling us with the idea in the ’80s?”

Q: What advice would you have for a student interested in going into broadcast journalism?  Would you tell them to pick a different trade?

A: “I think everyone should be a reporter at least once in a lifetime. It IS a front-row seat to life. I would recommend going to a strong journalism school, then finding a good, small-sized market where you have the chance to do it all: shoot your video, write your story, edit it, front it live, and oh yeah, help clean the place on the weekends. I can still tell the difference between those who have that kind of experience and those who don’t: good broadcasters write *to their video… others write *over it.”

Q: I am sure you have done your fair share of live reporting throughout your career.  Any embarrassing moments on live TV that you’d like to share?

A:  “A couple of months ago, my producer and I crossed wires and got so busy on the 10, we forgot about one script. I was reading it live on air … and got to ‘up…’ and thankfully stopped myself. The rest of the sentence was ‘update script here.’ We made it through, thankfully.”

Q: What made you decide to get involved with the Idaho Press Club?

A: “When I lived in Syracuse, NY, I was involved in their press club for all seven years I lived there. I truly believe in professional development outside the newsroom. You’ll be a better journalist, and more interesting person!”

Q: What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?  What do you do when you aren’t on TV sharing the news?

A:  “I am an avid skier and have just started learning how to paddle, spending time on the Payette River this summer. When I’m not reading a good book or walking my dog, you’ll likely find me somewhere in the great outdoors of Idaho.”

Interviewed by Melissa McGrath, associate representative on the Idaho Press Club state board, former newspaper reporter, and public information officer for the Idaho State Department of Education.