Baylor University

Danielle Skinner

It's The Journey: KXXV's Danielle Skinner shares tips from the TV industry

By Shelby Tidwell, Public Relations major

You have to start somewhere. Channel 25 night news reporter Danielle Skinner can attest to this. Skinner spoke to a Reporting and Writing class at 9:30 Tuesday, Oct. 16 in Castellaw Communications Center.

"You have to pay your dues in this industry," Skinner said. When she graduated from Langston University in 2011 with a degree in broadcast journalism, Skinner had already interned three times for two news stations.

"You have to intern your behind off," Skinner said. "It's a way to get your foot in the door."

Skinner's internships helped her develop mentor relationships. "It's someone who's inside the business who you can talk to, get advice from," Skinner said.

When Skinner was close to graduating, she asked her mentor at the Oklahoma Eyewitness News 5 station to look over her resume tape.

"She tore it to pieces. But I'm so grateful that she did because I probably wouldn't have this job if she hadn't," Skinner said.

Houston sophomore Emily Baker said, "I know what it's like to have my work ripped to shreds, but Skinner encouraged me to see it as constructive criticism that can only help me."

In September of last year, Skinner received a call from her current boss. She also got several offers from other stations, including stations in Savannah, Ga., and Portsmith, Ark.

"I thought I wouldn't have to be a one-man band," Skinner said. "So I chose this station. Little did I know, that was wrong."

Skinner said the brand of her current station is hard news, but reporting hard news in Waco is not always easy.

"Waco doesn't have much hard news, compared to bigger markets," Skinner said. "I had to network and expand my contacts, pass out business cards to people, buckle down and put my face out there."

But Skinner said she is more appreciative of her work because she has had to collect her own stories and make "wine out of water every day."

Skinner said sometimes she thinks other reporters and anchors are spoiled.

"But I can pitch a story. I can go live at a hard news source. This station has set me up to do that," she said.

Skinner said she wants to keep moving up. "I want to anchor. In order to do that, I'm going to need experience."

To be a good anchor, you have to be a good reporter, Skinner said. "I may have to go through two more jobs before I get to that anchoring gig."

When Skinner's contract was coming close to an end, her mentor told her about a job in Grand Rapids, Mich.

"If you have at least three or four mentors you can go to, they can point you to your next job," Skinner said.

Denver, Colo., junior Kaitlin Dougherty said she admires how Skinner "acknowledges the competitiveness of her field but continues to pursue her goal."

Skinner knows the importance of networking, contacts and "keeping in touch with the people who helped you in college."

"This business is big, but it's so small," Skinner said.