Sam Houston State University’s student-run public relations firm Priority One held the annual “Mingling with the Media” event last night in Studio A of the Dan Rather Communications Building. The guest that bearkats were able to mingle with was Khambrel Marshall.
Marshall is currently part of the severe weather team and host of the weekly news show “Houston Newsmakers” for KPRC Local 2. Marshall has worked in the broadcast field for over 40 years. During the event, he reflected on his career, answered questions from students and gave some advice for students looking to go into the media business.
During his career as a broadcaster, Marshall had been a sports reporter, news anchor and meteorologist.
“The only thing certain about my business is change,” Marshall said. “Anyone who decides to get into the business must adapt to that change. I have managed to stay in the business for so long because I have been able to adapt to the circumstances.”
According to Marshall, the media business has changed tremendously since he first started in 1976. With the different technological advances and social media expanding, the day-to-day life of a reporter is now drastically different from when Marshall first began his career.
Marshall got his big break as a news anchor by just being at the right place at the right time. After 18 years of sports anchoring, Marshall filled in one day to help with the hurricane coverage and then ended up continuing as news anchor for the next eight years.
“The main anchor was away and there were no male anchors ready,” Marshall said. “They turned to me and said, ‘We need you on set to cover as Hurricane Andrew comes in’ and I said ‘I’m ready.’ I had been looking for a way to get into news. After the Hurricane Andrew performance, they said we liked the job you did.
Then asked if I would like to move from sports to news and I said yes. Sometimes it is about being at the right place at the right time.”
Marshall had an interest in meteorology since high school, but did not actually study weather and learn how to be a meteorologist until he was anchoring.
Back when Marshall started his career, reporters would generally have one story per day for the nightly newscast.
Now, modern journalist must be what he described as “one-man-band journalist.” These journalists must know how to write, shoot footage and edit. They might have to do two stories and then post online about the issue as well. In addition, they must know how to post about their work on social media.
A key point of advice that Marshall shared with the audience of students was to look for the truth.
“You have to have an unquenchable desire for the truth,” Marshall said. “That is very important. That is what we are all about. Find the truth and tell the truth. Always be truthful and honest about what you do. Once you do that, everything else should fall into place.”
Marshall also expressed the importance of having strong writing skills.
“Writing is still the foundation of everything we do in this business,” Marshall said. “Writing is very important. Writing a good cover letter and resume will get you past the gate keeper and you can go far.”
According to Marshall, he hopes the event provided students with an honest look at the business of journalism, what it requires and a sense of whether they have the will or the ability to take on the responsibility that goes with becoming a journalist.
“Devote your life to being an objective and honest teller of truth,” Marshall said.