Q & A with Good Day Austin’s Lauren Petrowski

It might come as a little bit of a surprise that my debut post for PRBC is a Q & A with an up and coming news reporter for the local Fox affiliate in Austin.  In my 13 years of working in PR, I’ve always been one to share knowledge with colleagues especially those who are new to the field.

Enter Good Day Austin reporter/anchor Lauren Petrowski who was kind enough to indulge me when I asked her to answer a few questions for PRBC. Lauren was very candid with her replies. Since most of us work with the media on a daily basis, I think it is important to actually get to know who some of these folks are.  I hope her answers would help some, if not many of us, who pitch the media.

So without further delay, sit back, grab that cup of coffee and enjoy my Q&A with Lauren:

1)      When did you realize you wanted to be in broadcast journalism?

I realized I wanted to go into broadcast journalism in high school.  I was on student council and really enjoyed being one of the first to find out all the school-related news, then getting to tell others.  I loved standing up in front of my class to give the weekly reports about upcoming events, deadlines, etc.  This is also the time when I started reading and watching the news and becoming more and more interested in what was going on around me, and in the world.

2)      Who was your most memorable interview? Or most memorable event that you covered?

I don’t know about my most memorable interview, but I think my most memorable story, or experience, was going to Fort Hood to cover the shootings in November of 2009.  It was the worst tragedy I have ever covered and it was difficult to get a grasp on what had happened.  I was going live every 15 to 30 minutes all morning long and trying to get updates as often as possible.  The media blitz was unlike anything I had ever seen.  The soldiers at Fort Hood were so welcoming and accommodating to us, even after they had just experienced this horrible tragedy caused by one of their own.  Being there was something I will never forget.

3)      Since you’ve been on Twitter (follower her @laurenpetrowski), how has it helped/hurt your life professionally/personally?

I would like to think that Twitter has helped my career, or at least help get my name out to more viewers.  I like to tweet about both work and a little of my personal life.  I don’t get too personal, or give out certain info like my location on my free time, etc., but I like to let viewers know what is going on in Austin, and also let them get to know me a little.  That is what I would want from news reporters and anchors I follow.  I think it makes us seem more personable, while staying professional at the same time.  I always try to tweet when I’m on a breaking news story, and post pictures as well.  It’s also a great way to send people to our web site for my info or live video, etc.

4)      Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I would love to still be in Austin, working in the news business.  Hopefully getting some more anchoring experience, but still getting to report as well.  I absolutely love this city and I feel very lucky that I have been able to live and work here.  At this point, this is where my husband and I would like to start a family.

5)      What do you like/dislike about PR pros? (Be brutally honest about what you dislike. I think we can all learn from you) Any advice to PR pros?

For the most part, I love working with PR folks because this is where I get a lot of my story ideas for the morning show and I’ve made some great relationships with people in the PR industry.  I guess I’d have to say what I dislike the most is when someone gets too pushy, or can’t take no for an answer.  I do not always choose what stories I do; I get them approved by my manager or producer.  So if the story idea doesn’t sound great to them for whatever reason, I can’t change that.  Sometimes that’s hard for PR reps to understand.

Also, VIDEO.  I get sent so many story ideas that sound great, but there is no opportunity for video.  We are in the TV business so we have to shoot video for our stories.  We can’t just shoot an interview or a press conference.  We need people or things doing something, showing something, experiencing something.  So when you pitch a story to a reporter, it’s great if you also have an idea for video.

6)      What’s the best and worst thing about being a morning news reporter?

Best thing about the morning show:  Every day is different and I get so much live experience.  Our show is four hours long and I’m live 4 to 8 times a day.  It has really helped make me a better reporter.

Worst thing:  Waking up at 2:30.  It’s rough.  Enough said.

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