Emmy Award Winning News Broadcaster Mentors Students

By Patty E. Shaver
Career Choices in North Carolina

​​​​​​​After gaining vast knowledge and skills many professionals desire to give back by bringing their valuable experiences into the classroom. Considering our current job market and North Carolina’s shortage of teachers, teaching may be an option worth pursuing. But first, you must be a good ally.

After 30 Years in Broadcasting—This Man is a True Ally

He moved through the sea of opportunity in the broadcasting world, from tape editing room to news director, and Emmy winner. Now he focuses his time on giving back. Doug Spero, Assistant professor at Meredith College, and partner for Triangle Media Coaching, now teaches students, media professionals, politicians, and non-profit professionals the ins and outs of the broadcasting world.
Spero’s original career plan was to be a cameraman or disc jockey. However, when the doors to the newsroom started to open, Spero began to walk through these doors, and soon developed an interest in news broadcasting. Little did he know that he would later end up working for network giants ABC, CBS and NBC.
After a fellow classmate told him about an available position at the Mutual Radio Network of New York, Spero started working weekends in an editing room taking in news feed. This part-time job led to several positions in radio and television including public affairs host, Long Island Bureau Chief, field producer, assignment editor, reporter, radio news operations editor, radio network news producer, and news editor. It took fifteen years of perseverance and hard work until he got on the air. From there he advanced to news director for ABC, which required working with interviewers, news writers, producers, general managers, reporters, and people at the assignment desk.
  To succeed in broadcasting, you have to work well with ideas. You must be curious, aggressive and interested in issues and people—a people person who can communicate and write well. 
“A high standard of professionalism is necessary in this business,” Spero explains. “One must be honest, responsible, and do the job right. People must be able to count on you.” These are qualities that Spero carries over to teaching.
Reflecting back to his college days, Spero reminisced about well-known broadcast professionals from programs like the Jackie Gleason Show who also taught. “There’s nothing better than to have people who have worked in the industry in the classroom,” he said. “I never forgot what they did and how they helped me. I decided to do what they did. I wanted to give something back.”

Spero knew that he needed at least a master’s degree in order to teach. While working as a reporter at CBS News in New York, he attended evening classes at New York Institute of Technology.  After reaching this goal, Spero began teaching at East Carolina University as an adjunct professor of Mass Communication.
With 30 years of experience in the broadcast industry Spero offers students and professionals a front row seat to mass communication. In the classroom, Spero’s passion for teaching is evident as he walks about the classroom, gesturing as he speaks and emphasizing his points clearly and articulately. He stresses the importance of supplementing a college education with experience and encourages students to gain valuable work experience while in college.
“Broadcasting is tremendously competitive, but if you’ve got the right stuff, and enthusiasm, and you really want it, you can do it.” 
“Teaching is only part of the game,” Spero remarked. Although he has a hectic schedule and full class sizes, Spero finds time for his students. Feeling the need to help students get ready for the profession, he makes himself available to students after class, assisting them with internships, and placing them in their first job.
At this point in Spero’s life, he realizes that winning over 40 awards, including an Emmy for Best Investigation, is not all there is to life.
“It’s not about money for me—it’s about helping as many students and non-profit organizations as I can. It’s about seeing them go out in the industry and make it. It’s about giving back, and getting more time with my family, and watching my kids succeed.”

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