DSU: How did you first decide to come to Delaware State?
TONY: Well, I had been accepted to a few colleges, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do coming out of high school. Like most young people, I didn’t really have much direction as to what my future would be. But my cousin had gone to Delaware State University. My father and I would go and pick her up from school, and every time we’d go there, it just looked like so much fun. She used to hate coming home and I just said, that’s the experience that I want.
DSU: So how did you end up in Mass Communications after not really knowing what you wanted to do?
TONY: I was always the class clown, so I knew I wanted to do something in entertainment and television. When I first got to school, I was an undecided major, and I took television classes and computer classes. One of my classmates asked me to host his on-campus television show. I had no experience, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I just did it. The show ended up becoming really popular and from there, we just caught the bug. We began to produce plays on campus and tape all of the events, and I started doing interviews with the students and putting them on the campus television show. Once it became popular on campus, our confidence grew. And from there, I just kept going with it. Then I switched my major to Mass Communications with a concentration in Television Production and then Broadcast Journalism.
DSU: Did your classwork translate to your current job?
TONY: Absolutely. As a digital journalist at Black Entertainment Television, I shoot, edit, write and produce my own stories, all things that I had been doing during my time at Del State. A lot of the opportunities I had in the Mass Communications department led me to where I am today. For instance, my classmates and professors encouraged me to attend a conference held by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) my senior year. I was able to show people my reel – which was a collection of interviews I had done at Del State – and they were really interested in helping me. That’s how I landed my first gig at Channel One. If my peers in the Mass Communications department hadn’t urged me to attend the conference, I might not have been able to get my reel into the right hands. I really encourage all aspiring journalists to get to the NABJ conference at some point.
DSU: Do you have any other advice for incoming students?
TONY: Take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered to you. Pick up a camera and shoot your own show – there aren’t a lot of places where you can get hands-on your freshman year – or go in after class and ask for some extra help. In my experience at DSU, everyone was more than willing to give it. My classmates and I would help out with each other’s television shows, work together in class, share advice and contacts. Our professors really noticed when we were putting the work in and would do everything they could to help us succeed.