The University of West Georgia hosted Larry Smith as a guest speaker on Nov. 4 to encourage students and inform of his achievements and how he accomplished them.
Larry Smith has been in the media industry for 25 years and began doing what he loved at the age of 19.
“My real career began when I was 13 when I would take my boom box and report on my two person video game that I played by myself,” said Larry Smith, Sports Director at CBS Atlanta.
A previous professor of Smith’s took a job as a station manager of a local station and hired Smith on. He often times would sleep in his car behind the station and go into the KFC next door to wash up and change before going back to work.
“Challenge yourself no matter what you do,” said Smith. “The bottom line is your résumé and you. How do you make yourself the needle in the haystack? That’s the challenge. If you are not happy with your situation, only you can change it.”
Smith attended Eastern Illinois University and majored in Speech Communication and minored in Journalism.
“A college degree says you’re educated and college proves you can learn information in a short amount of time,” said Smith.
He explained that it is the experience that helps you in the long run. He was hired on at CNN in 1993 and was 25-years-old when he anchored his first show on CNN.
“CNN was my favorite job because I was there so long and I learned so much,” said Smith.
Although the media and television are going through an all time low, CNN gets 40 million dollars before they turn the lights on or sell an ad, because whether you watch it or not, you are still paying.
Smith explained his main goal was to tell stories. In reporting, your goal is to tell a story in the most interesting way possible and that is what he hopes to do.
“It is very hard to act objective when you are interviewing someone you don’t care for,” said Smith. “You have to be objective and take your heart out of the story.”
Interviews are set up through calling directly, public relations and schools. CBS is the official Falcons station and he reports Falcons football games. Smith mentioned he is not looking much into the future and is focusing only on one contract at a time.
“My advice to students would be to network with people and search for internships,” said Smith. “Even if you are just observing at a television station, anything is better than nothing.”
While preparing to go on air, Smith said he prepares for about five hours. He said, in reality his preparing is infinite, because he does so many weekly specialty shows.
“I am always researching and thinking,” said Smith. “I wake up and begin reading, and I go to sleep reading.”