Professor by Day, Station Producer by Night

By Alexander Ulatowski:

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Throughout Monroe County people quietly live their lives making an impact on their communities each day. They are teachers who help guide students with their studies, mothers who help watch and take care of children, and journalists who share stories with the world. Each of these titles help define Kimberly Young, Ph.D., who is a professor in the department of journalism, broadcasting and public relations at the College at Brockport, where she has been teaching for the past four years.

Young’s courses include mobile journalism, web writing, media performance, audio storytelling, and interviewing. Young also is a faculty advisor and the club advisor at Brockport’s on campus television station Talon Television.

In addition, Young is a part-time television news producer at Rochester’s WHEC-TV NBC Channel 10 news station.  There, Young’s job is to publish stories on WHEC TV’s website, call reporters working in the field, contact sources and oversee the production of each newscast.”

Young has been involved in the journalism and broadcasting industry for many years holding positions as an executive producer, anchor, and reporter in both television and radio. She’s been working in journalism since high school.

Young was raised in Columbus, Ohio until the age of nine when her parents moved to Westfield, NY (Westfield is a town in the western part of Chautauqua County near the New York State/Pennsylvania border line.) There, Young went to Westfield Academy where she played basketball and volleyball and learned to be a writer. Her first journalism job was writing for the town newspaper.

“One of my best friends when I was young had asked me if I would like to write news stories with her for our town’s newspaper, and we would do that every summer for fun.” That experience was her springboard into the profession. Young went on to the State University of New York College at Oswego (SUNY Oswego), where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication. Young said one reason she chose Oswego was because she wanted to be in a state school because of her parents. “Both of my parents went to Ohio State and are very proud that they went to a state college, and I wanted to have that same experience,” she said.

Young knew she wanted to work for a television or radio station in a big market. At SUNY Oswego, Young took media classes where she worked with old broadcast equipment at Oswego’s television station and took journalism writing courses that helped hone her writing skills. Barbara Walters, the legendary broadcast journalist, was Young’s idol at the time. She remembers watching Walters on the ABC Evening News each night with her roommates in their dorm room. At the time, a woman in the lead anchor position on a major network was practically unheard of.

After graduating from Oswego, Young was accepted into several internship positions at radio and television stations throughout Buffalo, Rochester and the Finger Lakes.

From an internship, Young was hired in 1994 as anchor and reporter at CBS WSEE 35 in Greene Township, P.A. At WSEE-TV Young had to produce, write and edit newscasts and stories, most of which were investigative and feature stories. “I would first be assigned a story, be required to do research and get B-roll footage, find and call interviewees, and also edit and produce each of the stories that were assigned.” She would come home late each day, sleep for a couple of hours, get up, and go back to the television studio to do it all over again.

As Young rose through the ranks at WSEE, she covered a range of topics from murder investigations to droughts. “What makes the journalism career fun is that you are often covering many different topics, and each story told is different from each other,” Young said.

Young was at WSEE 35 for 10 years, during which time she covered a United States Marine Corps training session at Parris Island, S.C. For the story, Young was filmed climbing over a training wall (8:26). Young also did a story on the effects of summer drought and spring frost on a farm patch, and brought herself to the field to interview and film the story. She remembered a feature story on the Venango County Air Show in Franklin Pa., where she was filmed flying a fighter jet. Young put herself in those situations, she said, to make the story more engaging for viewers. “As a journalist you have bring each story you write, produce, or report to life by putting yourself in the environment, out of your comfort zone, to tell the story to viewers.” The Venango County Air Show was of her favorite stories at WSEE.

While still at WSEE-TV, Young enrolled at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where she spent 2000 to 2002. It was at Edinboro that she got her Master of Arts in communication. While she was attending graduate school, she also was a mother and a part-time anchor. Young said juggling all of that was tough. There were stories she just couldn’t cover and family commitments she sometimes couldn’t make.

Right after getting her degree, Young enrolled at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa.  In 2007, she received her Ph.D. in rhetoric studies. Young said she committed herself to getting these degrees because she wanted to become a professor to teach students about media and its rapid evolution.

Young eventually became an instructor in journalism at Penn State University Behrend in 2005. She taught Radio recording classes, and helped create Behrend’s first online radio station for the campus. Young taught at Penn State University Behrend for nine years until May 2014 when she left to join the College at Brockport, where she launched Brockport’s first multimedia journalism concentration. 

Kayla Green a former student of Professor Young said, “Kim has added her touch to the department and created a new and fresh vibe.” According to The College at Brockport’s journalism and broadcasting department website Young “chose to come to Brockport because of the exciting potential of the journalism program, the dynamic faculty, the energy and enthusiasm of the students, and her abiding dedication to and love for the SUNY system.” Young’s impact as a professor was not only touched by the students at Penn State University at Behrend but by the students of Brockport and the Rochester community itself.

Kayla Green a reporter for WROC-TV News 8 who recently graduated from The College at Brockport in December 2018 said Dr. Young is her lifelong mentor. “Kim is real with her students, and she’s tough but yet endearing at the same time. She teaches you how to succeed in the real world, not just college, and she is straight up honest with you,” Green said. Young has helped Green transition into WROC-TV when she was hired there early this year. “Kim has shared a lot about her career with me and given me insight into what to expect as a young female journalist. She taught me how to be tough and strong and become a good reporter,” Green said.

While as a student at the College at Brockport Kayla Green had Young for media performance, audio storytelling, and TV reporting. Green said Dr. Young’s media performance class helped her find her broadcast voice, gave her confidence, and allowed her to explore a passion she never had before.

The reason that Young has had an impact on the Rochester community is because of the time she takes to help students with questions and advice.  Green said that Young helped her at every moment. “She has helped me so much with scripts and stories as well as with making life decisions such as what internships and jobs to apply for,” Green added. Young’s impact runs deep in this area because of the lives she has touched throughout her career as a journalist, professor, mentor, mother and friend.

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