“You have to bea perfectionist,” Samantha Cortese ’11 says of her work as a TV news reporter.

Breaking News at the Break of Day

My favorite part of the job is the unpredictability,” says Samantha Cortese ’11, TV news reporter in Palm Springs for KESQ (ABC) and CBS Local 2 from 5 to 7 a.m. weekdays. “I get to watch news happen right in front of me and connect with people. I like it for the reaction. It’s very raw.”

Cortese earned a BFA in television and broadcast journalism from Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, and she credits her education as a first step on her path to fulfilling ambitious goals.

“I use my degree every day,” she said.

As an undergraduate, she split her schedule between a full-time course load and an internship with CBS in Palm Springs. That helped her focus on what’s most important to her.

“You have to be a perfectionist,” she said. “Chapman helps you learn time management.” Cortese produced the CBS Local 2 Morning Show to its highest ratings in the newscast’s history in 2011.

“I follow (Chapman Professor) Pete Weitzner’s mantra: ‘be clear, concise and conversational.’ If you can do those things effectively, you’re golden,” she said.

But Cortese’s exciting, and sometimes heartbreaking, experiences in the field have taught her skills that students can’t learn in the classroom.

“I’ve reported on families who have lost everything because of wildfires,” she said. “You have to be able to show emotion without letting it affect your report.”

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