Keith Whamond ‘04, the executive producer for the Connecticut Media Group at Hearst Digital and former Mirror managing editor, spoke to Fairfield University students Monday, Oct. 5, to talk about being young, tech savvy, and passionate, the three main ingredients that helped make him the young and thriving journalist that he is today.
Whamond said future journalists need to be well versed with technology changes like social networking, but they also need to develop an early passion for news and be “bit by the bug” early, getting hit with the idea to write the perfect story that would set you apart from other journalists. Whamond added, “Passion and enthusiasm are the best qualities to bring to the table, the skills aren’t as important as your willingness to learn.”
According to Whamond, if one were to look at the future of journalism, the kinds of technology tools to use have become a very important aspect. He stated that it has gotten down to the most basic level. He believes that breaking news to people is the most significant part that someone, like Tom Baden, editor of The Connecticut Post, would be looking for in terms of a career.
Whamond told Fairfield students that he was looked up to by older co-workers because of his ability to shoot videos, set up plenty of audio, and create accounts on both Skype and Twitter, all within his first few weeks while working in Danbury. Newly hired journalists think of these tasks as second nature, while older and more experienced journalists viewed Whamond being quite tech savvy.
Whamond’s career took off after graduating from Fairfield University in 2004 with a B.A. in English, along with a love for the job of capturing a great story. According to Whamond, he was advised to “get the hell out of journalism.” By following his passion, and taking English chair James Simon’s news writing class his sophomore year, Whamond wisely ignored the advice to find another career.
His online media career started as an editorial page assistant for The Connecticut Post at MediaNews Group. Whamond worked his way up to being an online reporter at ConnPost.com at Hearst Media News Group. Before taking on his current job, about five months ago, he worked for the Danbury NewsTimes.com as an online editor at Hearst.
Whamond shared, “I love breaking the news, the excitement of journalism, being young and not knowing the rules gives you a great advantage.”
Whamond ended his presentation saying, “Youth has the capacity to change the rules of journalism, it’s not necessarily age, it’s just true of anything, when you do something the same way for 30 years, changes must be very difficult.“