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News & Press: Member Spotlight

Nelson: Don't Let "No's" Deter You But Inspire You

Friday, November 05, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: ryan williams
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Christopher Nelson
New York City
News Associate, NBC News
NABJ Member Since: 2005

Co-Chair NABJ SEED (Student Education Enrichment & Development) Committee, Member NABJ Communications Committee, Member NABJ Convention Programming Committee, former NABJ Student Representative

Currently I am a News Associate at NBC News in New York where I’ve been since August 2010. Prior to joining NBC I began my career at WJZ-TV, the CBS owned and operated station in my hometown of Baltimore, MD. At WJZ I first completed the CBS Television Stations Group broadcast apprentice program. I was also a news writer, a substitute assignment editor and a substitute web producer. My experience isn’t just limited to traditional media I was also a blogger for, the companion of B, Free Daily, which is owned by Tribune. I earned my bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University Maryland. While attending Loyola I interned at WBFF-TV in Baltimore, WEIU-TV in Charleston, IL, was news director at my college radio station WLOY-AM, and a writer for my college newspaper TheGreyhound.

How has NABJ benefitted you professionally?

I joined NABJ right after I graduated from high school and have maintained my membership ever since. I have also made the transition from student member to full-time professional member. NABJ has provided me with mentors who have helped to guide me as I began my career as a professional journalist. As many doors as NABJ has opened for me, this organization has also told me "no” when perhaps I needed to be told "no” or wasn’t ready for certain opportunities. Still the relationships that I’ve built over time are what inspire me and lead me to remain committed to growing as a professional, and as a person.

NABJ isn’t just an organization of people who simply share a vocation or are like-minded. NABJ is an organization of talented people committed to excelling at their craft, committed to ensuring that journalism and true storytelling has a future, and committed to giving a new generation of journalists the opportunity to tell stories in creative and innovative ways. The chance to be an NABJ leader whether on the board or in other volunteer capacities has also allowed me to show potential employers that I am committed to being a leader in our industry. Being a thinker and a doer on behalf of NABJ has not been a bad thing.

What advice do you have for aspiring young journalists?

I’d advice someone who truly wanted to get into communications and media to not just study our craft, but to study the industry. You need to know how the business is changing, where the business is growing, and how you should evolve as a professional.

I would also advice young journalists to get mentors of various experience levels. I have mentors who are older than me, I have trustworthy and reliable peers my own age who I rely on, and I call upon some people who are younger than me to stay current, well-versed, and connected to what’s happening out there.

I’ll say don’t let "no’s” deter you but inspire you. I’ve been told "no” as many times as I’ve been told yes. Yes, I’ve been discouraged but I’ve always been reassured by those who saw not just my talent, but my desire, to work hard for the opportunities that I wanted. We aren’t given much aside from opportunity, but it’s up to the individual to make their own way and execute their plan.

Lastly, have a master plan, a plan to get their, and a backup plan, but be flexible cause things happen and life changes.

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