Questions, Cameras, and Compassion
How many people can really say that within a day, you can see your work truly making a difference in the world?” said Lauren Moss (BA ’14), KWWLTV anchor and reporter.
After being told her stories have brought awareness to issues in her community, have encouraged justice after a crime, or have provided comfort after the loss of a loved one, Moss said she could not imagine a more rewarding career than being a journalist. Each day she is inspired by the subjects of her stories, and the immense trust they have in her to represent them. This is why, Moss said, while her questions and her camera may be important, there is not a tool in journalism more necessary than a sense of compassion.
Moss began her broadcast news career as a morning reporter at KWWL TV station and started each day at 2 a.m. Within a year of her start, she was promoted to weekend anchor. Now, at the age of 25, she solo-anchors her own show on Saturday and Sunday mornings and reports for the evening newscast during the week. Moss’s success is reflective of KWWL as a whole, a station that has earned six Upper Midwest Regional Emmys in the past three years.
“Everything I’m doing now at KWWL, in a professional news setting, is everything I learned at DITV,” Lauren Moss said. “There are certain experiences you just can’t get in a classroom, and DITV was perfect for that.”
However, Moss had not considered broadcast journalism as a possible career path until she toured the Daily Iowan TV (DITV) studio at the University of Iowa. She worked on the staff at DITV for four years and is thankful for the early exposure to the real-world experiences DITV had to offer.
“Everything I’m doing now at KWWL, in a professional news setting, is everything I learned at DITV,” she said. “There are certain experiences you just can’t get in a classroom, and DITV was perfect for that.”
Ron Steele (BA ‘73), KWWL anchor and reporter of more than 40 years, enjoys the opportunity to mentor young reporters at KWWL. Steele said he recognized Moss’s talent in broadcast early on with her skilled reporting.
“In television news, you aren’t given a lot of time to get your message across. Very often, you have to edit a huge story down to the most important details and present it in less than a minute or two, and Lauren is really great at that,” he said. “We can depend on her to get it done fast, but get it done right as well.”
Fellow KWWL reporter Jessica Hartman also spoke about Moss’s dependability, saying that even when things don’t go well, Moss is always able to deliver a quality product. “What’s great about Lauren is that she really does care and it’s apparent in her reporting,” she said. “She knows how to make the people she’s reporting on feel comfortable and well-represented.”
The Forecast for Broadcast
In addition to compassion, Moss says flexibility is an important attribute in journalism as the form of broadcast news continues to shift. “Even in my three years here at KWWL, the technology we’re using has changed. For example, Facebook Live has become a tool we’re using more often,” she said. “It allows reporters to reach wide audiences in a short amount of time, and it has made a huge difference.”
Moss said news stations are even beginning to publish whole shows on Facebook Live. And while television certainly is nowhere near obsolete, Moss said modern broadcast journalists need to be able to adapt to the digital age. And as the field changes, Moss says she is excited to change with it.
“Technology is definitely going to continue to change with broadcast journalism. But with that change, you have to be careful—you want to be the first one to get the story out, but you still have to check your facts,” she said. “Hopefully the roots of good journalism will stay the same because that’s what it takes for journalism to stay alive.”