A Jump from a Hospital Bed to the Anchor Chair

By Andrew Tomasello
            April 17, 2014 is the day I walked out of the hospital for the very last time.  After a diagnosis of osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer), 19 rounds of high dose chemotherapy, 7
weeks of radiation, and 2 intricate surgeries, I left the hospital not as a patient anymore but as a Cancer Survivor.  I’ll always remember that moment because it inspired me to take steps towardtomasello 3 (3)s my dreams of working in television and hopefully one day being on TV. 
            Returning to Catholic University in the Fall of 2014, I lined myself up to take course towards earning a Minor in Media Studies.  In addition, I humbly accepted some of the most fascinating, exciting, and all around superior internships of my entire professional career; The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, The CBS News Political Unit, and NBC/ WRC Channel 4 News.  Each one challenged, tested, and pushed me further than I could have ever imagined.
        While at The CBS News Political Unit, I compiled research on prominent political figures for producers to easily look up in a timeline.  In part, every Wednesday I interned on Capitol Hill in the CBS News booth in the Radio and TV Gallery.  Here I assisted producers on both the House and Senate side by taking notes on congressional hearings to see what news came out of it, staking out different electeds with a camera, and got to observe Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes during her live shots. I even got to shadow Walter Cronkite’s grandson Walt Cronkite! 
         And if all this weren’t enough, every Friday I had the privilege of sitting smack in the middle of the newsroom aiding producers and correspondents with anything and everything for the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. My very first day at Evening a plane was flying out of control down the eastern seaboard at a slow descend.  The newsroom leaped into action.  I will never forget when the now retired veteran Justice Correspondent Bob Orr pointed at me saying to find out anything I could about the pilot on Facebook and Twitter.  Then Transportation and now dueling Justice Correspondent Jeff Pegues came down and asked me to find a sound bite of anything that didn’t sound right during the time of the flight from the Air Traffic Control database.  I found the sound bite he needed.  Walking out of work that day I knew television was going to be a part of my life.  I fell in love.  Among the many tasks assigned to me I logged State and Defense Department briefings, helped out with Face The Nation interviews, pitched in to field produce a live shot, and covered an Ebola press conference. 
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            My last day interning reassured me that television had a place in my life.  For the first time in my life I jumped up onto the CBS Washington anchor desk, the same all the correspondents use, and recorded my own anchor demo. I’ve never felt more alive.  A passion ignited in me.  I knew this was for me. Before I left, the Deputy Bureau Chief and the Evening News team all brought out a signed card thanking me for my work along with a CBS News swag bag.  I walked out with my head held high. 
            As the Spring semester approached, I landed another internship this time at NBC Channel 4 News that has been more amazing than I could have ever anticipated.  My experience at NBC embodies exactly what an internship is all about, learning the job.  What you put into it is what you will get out of it.  A typical day consists of heading into the 9am pitch meeting where story ideas are discussed amongst producers, news managers, and reporters. After this, as an intern I get to tag along and shadow a reporter out in the field covering a story and observe how they operate.  I even have the opportunity to record my own standup bit on camera as practice.  I tell people all the time that I get to practice being on TV at my internship. To top it all off I even live tweeted the SNL 40th Anniversary special from the NBC brand account and promoted it with a clip on Facebook featuring me!tomasello 4 
           Then the day came for me to sit in the anchor chair on set and test out my anchoring skills.  News4 anchor Jim Handly sat me down and read through my script with me providing some incredible feedback and advice.  Then I put on my jacket, put on some makeup, and sat down in the anchor chair to give it a whirl.  It was pretty incredible.  My personality flourishes when I’m here.  If ever I was unsure about a career in TV, NBC confirmed it.  I love the company so much I’ve applied to the NBC Page Program in NYC.
           It’s amazing to think that exactly 1 year ago I walked out of the hospital finishing my last chemo treatment unsure of anything a head of me.  If you told me last year I’d be tomasello 3 (4)doing everything I just wrote about, I would’ve laughed in your face.  I spent my entire time battling cancer dreaming of working in TV and now I have recordings of myself on TV!  It’s unbelievable.  Don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of your dreams.  I didn’t and now I’m living mine.        

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