Q&A with Adam Ghassemi

Current Job: Report/Anchor at CBS affiliate WTVF Channel 5 news in Nashville, Tennessee

Major: Broadcast News and Information Systems

Graduation: 2004

By Heather Kilby

GhassemiSince graduating from Drake in 2004, Adam Ghassemi has traveled the country doing what he loves: broadcast news. On his journey, he’s covered stories from severe car crashes to high-profile court cases to natural disasters. His passion for journalism and his ability to adapt to the ever-changing industry has enabled him to fulfill his dreams and aspirations and has landed him a job as a reporter/anchor in his home state of Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and 2-year-old son.

What does the daily schedule of an anchor/reporter at WTVF News Channel 5 look like?

When I was at Drake, I was in the basement in Meredith all of the time for broadcast school. That prepared me, because I now have what is called a daily “general assignment,” which means I cover basically any story, anytime, anywhere in our area. So I have daily deadlines. I am on what is called our early shows at 4, 5 and 6 o’clock here in Nashville. Some days you want to pull your hair out, and some days it’s fun.

What has your journey been like since graduation?

In TV, it is kind of like the military in the fact that if you want to advance, you usually spend a year or two here, a year there, and just kind of work your way up. When I left Drake, I got my first job in Duluth, Minnesota as a reporter/anchor. I spent a year up there and eventually realized it was time to move on and went to Mobile, Alabama, for three years. I ended up meeting my wife there and then we went to Portland, Oregon, for three years. We decided we wanted to get closer to home. Home for me is Memphis, home for her is Atlanta, so Nashville made sense. When the position became open here in 2011, we took it. Now we have put down our roots in Nashville.

Do you plan to keep hopping from job to job, or do you want to stay put in your current job?

I definitely don’t have any immediate plans to jump out of the business and go into something else. Our industry is just changing across the board, whether you are talking about magazine or television or radio or any medium. It is very hard. I have learned that once you have started a family, moving and doing what it takes to try to advance your career in TV, it becomes harder and harder and harder because you are responsible for more than just yourself. I would like to keep going, and the industry has changed a lot in the last ten years since I graduated. I don’t know. I’d like to stay in it. I just have to kind of see where the dust settles here and then make a decision on where to go from there.

What has been a major story you have covered during your career?

While I was in Mobile, Alabama, the highlight was that I was there for Katrina. I was able to cover something that large and something that made that much of an impact on the country just a couple of years out of school.

What has been your biggest accomplishment or the highlight of your career?

I would say there are highlights in history that I have been able to witness, Katrina being one of them. It just says something when you can say, “I was there.” Many people can look at Katrina and say they saw it on TV, but I was actually there. So I think witnessing history is something that is important.

There really has never been a favorite story or accomplishment per say, but it really feels good from our end when we can focus on somebody and either leave people with something they didn’t know or they can take away from a character or learn something new from one of our stories. Or if someone has had something horrible happen to them or something life-altering happen to them and all of a sudden we get involved and do a story, if it really can make a difference and change something for that person. It’s good to see that. Making a difference is the highlight.

What’s your advice to journalism students today?

You have to be adaptable. You just never know because our industry is not like accounting. I’m guessing the practices of accounting do not alter much year to year. In our business, everything is constantly changing. We will throw away one social media platform and get another. You must have that adaptability coming into the workplace.

Keep up with Adam on LinkedIn.