Laverne McGee is a highly successful journalist, anchor, and talk show host based out of Orlando, Florida. As an Emmy award-winning reporter, she has extensive experience covering current events and is recognized for being innovative, creative, and multi-talented. Laverne has held various positions in broadcast journalism including, anchor, reporter, talk show host, and producer. She has worked in several major markets in Canada and the U.S., including Toronto and New York City. Aside from journalism, she has worked in public relations and used to own a consulting business called Champion Global Communications.
What was it like being a journalist and also having owned your own company?
For most of my career, I have been a television journalist; however, I have also spent a lot of time in other related industries, which has ultimately made me a stronger journalist. It’s my job to report on other people, places, and relevant issues, but it’s not without its challenges. I have previously worked in several sectors including real estate, sales, and retail – all of which have helped further my career. In the past, employees would remain at a job until retirement. However, in this day and age, most people spend an average of five years with one company. I appreciate all that I have learned in my past roles. It is one of the reasons I had started my own communications business. I wanted to be in a position to lend my expertise to others who were trying to succeed in areas where they have minimal experience. The consulting firm that I previously owned, Champion Global Communications, came about after several people asked me for coaching and training both behind and in front of the camera.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
What I love most about communications is that I get to tell and share stories about people. Everyone has a unique story, yet everyone has something in common with someone else. Bringing stories to life and weaving together people’s lives through communications is very rewarding.
How do you motivate others?
I motivate others by constantly encouraging them to persevere and stay positive. Sometimes people get discouraged if they are not achieving their goals in a timely fashion, but I like to remind them that the journey is part of the learning process. Keeping a positive outlook can sometimes be difficult, but having colleagues and family encourage you along the way can make all the difference.
What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?
There are several different ways to become a journalist, especially with the increasing popularity of social media. Having a YouTube channel or an IGTV account on Instagram can put you in a position to have your own show and expand your online audience. Everyone has a story to tell, and these days it can be delivered in many different ways. The traditional way to be a journalist is to attend a university or college with a journalism program. While in school, getting an internship with a reputable media company can be the key to a long and successful career. If you are starting in the industry, I recommend finding someone to shadow as it will give you a chance to see what the job is like before you have to do it yourself. Practice writing, and make sure to have someone proofread your work so you can continue to improve.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
One of my many accomplishments as a journalist has been meeting and interviewing high profile individuals and celebrities who have made history with their stories. Interviewing such people has given me access to information and insights that most people don’t get. I have also covered major events and award shows in both Canada and the United States. In Canada, I have covered the Juno Awards which recognizes Canadian musicians, in the same way the Grammy awards does in the U.S. I have also reported on the Grammys as well as the Tony Awards, The MTV awards, and the Espys. Notable people I have interviewed include Julie Andrews, Halle Berry, Wendy Williams, P Diddy, Lil Kim, Beyoncé, and Rudy Giuliani. Memorable events I have covered include the New Year’s Eve Ball drop in Times Square, NBA All Star Game, Miss America Pageant, and political conventions. I have also reported on several major hurricanes in Florida.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
One piece of advice I would give to others is to read as much as possible and not just about topics you are interested in, read about things you are not particularly excited about. This gives your mind an exercise in discipline and also helps you learn about a subject that you ordinarily would not be knowledgeable in. It is important to have a wide range of familiarity in different areas, so you can better relate to people.
What trends in your industry excite you?
One of the biggest trends in the communications industry is the explosion and popularity of digital content creators. In essence, these are people who have their own blogs, podcasts, and video shows on YouTube, Instagram TV, Facebook Watch and other digital platforms. Instead of them working for a major media outlet, they are able to create their own brand and/or channel. Some are able to get millions of followers and end up getting advertisers. The key to getting a huge following is to go viral. No one has figured out the exact formula for going viral but it happens in the strangest ways sometimes. The benefit of being a content creator is that you have complete control of your image and content. The downside is that even if you go viral once, you may have to go viral several more times in order to stay relevant.
Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
The proudest day of my professional life was on August 19, 2017. On that day, I received a Proclamation from the Assembly of the State of New York. It says in part “The Assembly of the State of New York Proclamation honoring and congratulating Laverne McGee for special recognition…” It also states that “her prolific record merits the recognition and respectful tribute…” It also recognizes me for my humanitarian work. As a journalist, I have never sought to be the recipient of such a recognition, but it is certainly an honor to have received recognition for my work in media. I was presented with the beautiful framed proclamation in New York City, where I spent much of my career covering news and entertainment.