Covering Coronavirus: Tips, best practices and programs

Introducing the Class of 2020: Rio Paynter

The National Press Club Journalism Institute is spotlighting the next generation of journalists, students graduating from college or Master’s programs this spring into a challenging job market, in hopes they’ll meet future bosses and colleagues here, who will reach out and support them in building journalism’s future together. 

Name: Rio Paynter

School: Arizona State University

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Intern: Arizona PBS

Quote: “I dreamed of attending the Cronkite School since I was a freshman in high school”

What have you learned from your internship experience(s)?

Paynter: That there is so much involved that I had not learned yet and how much goes into a news show.

What’s been your best moment in journalism?

Paynter: The best moment I have had in journalism is when I realized that I had gotten better at writing scripts and being on camera to front my stories.

The moment I had that aha! moment was my last two stories at Cronkite News during fall semester of 2019. I had written a script for a company called Soldier’s Best Friend and had not been planning to do a day turn, and got back to campus kind of late in the day and the producers really loved the story, so I had about 2 hours to write my script and edit my footage. 

When my director had looked at both, she made one small change and it was just rewording part of a sentence. With my video, she didn’t change anything. That day I also won a Wally for the story. …

My final story with Cronkite News was when I finally felt like I had gotten in the swing of things and felt really good about writing, editing and being on camera. I went to an after-school program in south Phoenix where kids were taught how to skateboard. The program leader and volunteers had a Christmas program where students won free skateboards that community members had bought and donated to them. The kids were shown all things regarding safety first and then were taught tricks and how to ride. It was a fun story to do, to see how excited the kids were. 

The day I went into edit and write my script, I was done by noon and had hours to kill before taping the show. This was another day my director didn’t change anything in my script or video. This was my best day on camera as well. 

What do you want to accomplish in your journalism career?

Paynter: I want to be able to get the information out to people without freaking them out with information. Especially in a time like this, with COVID-19.

If you could meet any journalist and ask for her/his advice, who would it be and why?

Paynter: Erin Andrews is my biggest role model when it comes to sideline reporting and broadcasting. From her I would want to know what she does to help herself be more comfortable in a job where sometimes women are not fully respected.

What do you want potential employers to know about you?

Paynter: I want potential employers to know that I am a hard worker and can work in many situations. I have experience with social media, writing digital stories, writing script, filming and editing.

When you aren’t practicing journalism, how do you spend your time?

Paynter: Reading and spending time with friends, family, pets.

If you’re a senior studying journalism, or know one, we’re accepting information here for students to feature in the future. If you’re a supporter, you can contribute here to scholarships for journalism students