Tom Brannon, the chief meteorologist at CBS affiliate THV11, visited the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on Oct. 24. The UA Little Rock graduate, who has also been a morning show feature reporter and co-anchor, spoke to Dr. Tim Edwards’s Careers in Mass Media class.
“As an experienced professional, Mr. Brannon provided extremely important tips and advice to students in terms of the skills and traits they need to develop while studying to pursue a career in the media industry in general and broadcast television specifically,” Edwards said.
Brannon, who grew up in Cabot, has a Bachelor of Arts degree from UA Little Rock and a Certificate of Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. He also holds a seal of approval from the National Weather Association.
A tornado that destroyed downtown Cabot in 1976 when he was a third grader sparked Brannon’s interest in weather. What was a frightening event turned into curiosity and, ultimately, a career.
Brannon talked to 19 students about the trajectory of his career and discussed the importance of having professional mentors and networking. He also talked about not giving up in pursuit of your dreams and the importance of being multi-skilled and flexible.
Brannon’s first-hand experience in what the business has been and what it is becoming helps reinforce what students have received via lectures, readings, and course activities, Edwards said.
“Any time students can hear from and network with a professional, it is always a plus,” he said. “I know the students enjoyed the time he spent talking with them.”
Kenyon Clay, a double major in criminal justice and mass communication, said the main point he took from Brannon’s talk is “If you want to do something and you really have a passion for it, do it and keep pushing. It’ll be worth the journey.”
The Careers in Mass Media course is required for mass communication-mass media emphasis majors and satisfies the first-year experience requirement of students.
“The course introduces students to the myriad of options available to them in terms of media careers and focuses on the professional expectations, behaviors, skills, and characteristics of media professionals,” Edwards said. Students from the Radio-TV Journalism course also sat in on Brannon’s talk.