Experienced Media Professionals Visit JGG at NHS!

By: Vivian Duncan

Early one morning before school, Chris Chandler and Deneise Darden visited Newnan High School with a plethora of knowledge and energy to share with the students of NHS’ Jobs for Georgia Graduates (JGG).

Chandler and Darden stand in the middle of the photograph with NHS’ JGG students on both sides of them.

Chandler and Darden both work professionally with various areas of the media, including reporting and consulting. Over coffee and Chick-fil-a biscuits provided by JGG’s Mr. Coker, the two shared their stories and then answered the student’s questions about careers in journalism and broadcasting.

Chandler graduated from the University of Illinois and went on to work as a reporter-anchor for the Bristol Broadcasting station group in Paducah, KY. He was one of the first reporters to break the news of the Dec. 1, 1997 shooting at Heath High School in West Paducah.

Having a job that ranges from covering tragedies to community as well as national celebrations, Chandler’s job has a far and wide reaching influence that has always drawn him to the profession.

He told the students, “It’s all I ever really wanted to do, was to be on the radio.”

From there, he went on to work at WHAS in Louisville, KY, where he served as senior reporter for the market’s number one rated afternoon radio show. During this time, Chandler did live reports from Jerusalem about the Middle East crisis following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

He has won two awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for his reports from the Middle East. He has also received “Best Radio Reporter” in 2001 and an Edward R. Murrow Award for “Outstanding Spot News” in 2004.

After his time at WHAS, Chandler was an anchor and editor at CNN Radio for three years. He covered the 2006 Virginia Tech shootings, reported from hurricane zones in Texas and Louisiana and contributed to the coverage of 2008 election campaign.

He now anchors Afternoon Drive and “Atlanta’s Evening News” on NewsTalk WSB, which he joined in 2009. He was the recipient  of the 2011 Associated Press Broadcasters Association’s “Best Anchor-Reporter” award.

He advised the students who are interested in journalism to study different things, politics and history in particular. Durden elaborated, “Reporters know random stuff about everything. If you need to know something, ask a reporter.”

Chandler also discussed how much technology is having an impact on journalism in the present day.

He explained, “Technology just keeps on changing. It has developed so much and expanded, from radio to tv to internet. Multimedia,multiplatform journalism is becoming increasingly relevant.”

Durden assists multiple media consultants in FM Radio Sales. She is one of the few people in her industry who assists in the development of new business and opportunities by creating pre- and post-campaign presentations for client consideration. These developments are created in the hopes of generating sales.  

She creates, maintains and distributes a quarterly review calendar as well as maintains confidential and sensitive company information. She also collects and manages FM Station’s weekly Remote Announcements.

In response to what sort of personality is required for a press media career, Durden said “you’ve got to be very curious and you’ve got to be at least reasonably extroverted.”

Reporters of any kind need to be able to communicate well and have well rounded background knowledge without showing bias in what they are reporting.