Class of 2020: Where are they now? Frankie McLister

The next generation of journalists graduated in 2020 into a challenging job market unlike any other. We spotlighted them this summer, shared advice from their role models, and are checking in with them this month to see where they are now and what they’re learning about journalism. 

Frankie McLister, morning reporter for News

Name: Frankie McLister
School: Arizona State University – Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication 
Current job: Morning reporter, News 4 Tucson
New wackiest story: Bighorn Fire

Where are you working right now? Is the position full-time, part-time or an internship?

McLister: News 4 Tucson, KVOA-TV — I am their full-time weekday morning reporter.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job search?

McLister: The biggest lesson I learned on the job search was to be patient and speak from your heart in your interviews. Tell them who you are, how you’ll impact the station and why you deserve it. It’s important to not be shy and be straight up during these interviews.

What’s been your best moment in journalism since graduation?

McLister: This is a tough one… It’s been a whirlwind since graduation. From covering a massive wildfire, having a bobcat come into my live shot, and also visiting a chile pepper farm to learn about their harvest. 

If I have to decide, my best moment in journalism since graduation probably would be when it snowed here in southern Arizona. I told the newsroom that I was going to prepare to cover this. So, I drove up to the mountains with my photographer at 4 a.m. and covered the snow for our morning show. This might not be a big deal in other places, but for southern Arizonans, they went crazy. My videos went viral. We were the only station to physically make it up to the snow and at the end of the day, I felt the feeling of my hard work + determination paying off.

What do you wish you had learned as a student that you’re learning on the job?

McLister: I wish that I had learned how important confidence is in this career. You have to know it, own it, and know that you can own it. You’re in the position for the reason that you can do it. With social media and viewer comments, it’s important to keep your head up and know that you can do this. I believe it all comes down to confidence, and that is something I was never told is so important in this industry.

Have your journalism goals changed since graduation, and if so how?

McLister: My goals have not changed. But, I will say that I have realized what I really want in life and, what truly is most important to me: Kindness, hard work, friends, family, a good work/life balance, a stable market that I can work my way up in and raise a family in, etc. 

Now that I’m out of school, it’s crazy to be now thinking about what the next step is. I always say that my favorite quote is “Work Hard and Be Nice to People.” Since graduation, I have learned to live by this as much as I possibly can.

What’s the NEW wackiest story you’ve ever worked on?

McLister: I’d say that wackiest story that I’ve worked on was the moment I got to KVOA; The Bighorn Fire. It was a wildfire that lasted nearly a month and the day we started covering it was my first day on the job. Homes were getting evacuated daily, there were 1,100+ fire crew members working to put out the fire in the Arizona heat, it was a fiasco. My very first month, I had nearly 14 live shots every single morning/afternoon. I keep saying I was “literally thrown into the fire.” That was WACKY and something I will truly never forget.

How are you taking care of yourself and staying motivated right now?

McLister: I take care of myself and stay motivated by staying strict to my sleep schedule, taking naps (as an AM newser this is all crucial) but additionally, I make time for my friends every single weekend and go to the gym/go on hikes during the week. Once I’m off work, my work phone stays in my bedroom and I try not to look at it. It’s a balance that has worked great for me.

Read McLister’s original profile here.

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