It’s pretty hard getting a job in broadcast meteorology. Between all the classes and training, the résumé tapes and networking that goes into getting that first job, it can be a pretty daunting task. It’s also pretty hard to leave broadcast meteorology. It may have been something you spent most of your life working towards, and life after the green wall can be a scary prospect. Lyndon State College graduate Jim Politis recently made the jump, leaving a nice gig at KIMT in Mason City for a job at Weather Services International near Boston. I asked Jim if he could answer a couple of questions about the big move.
After graduation, what was it like to be so far from home in New England? What was the hardest thing about starting out at a new station? I never thought my first job would be in Iowa, but I am glad it was. I have always enjoyed traveling and experiencing new things. Iowa provided me with an opportunity to broaden my horizon and grow as a meteorologist and person. While I very much missed the ocean/seafood and the mountains of New England, I very much enjoyed the best sweet corn in the world and some fantastic barbecue.
Now that I am back in New England, I find the biggest thing I miss are the close friends I made in Iowa and quality storm chasing. The hardest thing about starting at a new station was trying to prove my worth. You can’t prove your ability to forecast and dominate weather events immediately, but I had the opportunity step up and own multiple severe weather events and was able to earn the respect of my colleagues.
Was it hard to leave television news? What’s been the biggest change you’ve noticed? After spending nearly four years in Iowa, I found that the hardest part was leaving my friends and the viewers (especially the younger viewers). One of the best parts about social networking meshing with broadcast television is the opportunity to interact with students. Many future meteorologists would ask questions and continue to ask me questions via social networking.
I am honored to have the opportunity to assist in educating and encouraging students (young or old) to explore the wonders of meteorology. The biggest change for me, since leaving broadcast television is the ability to go grocery shopping without people staring. I will say that I do miss the friends I made at my favorite supermarket on the East side of Mason City!
What do you like about your new job at WSI? Being on the leading edge of the field, where do you see weather graphics heading in the future? There is a lot to like about my job at WSI as a Software Quality Assurance Engineer. My main job concern is testing TruVu Max for usability and stability. It is fun to be able to explore and try new things on the best broadcast meteorology software in the industry with a group of driven and smart people.
With the internet becoming more and more important in the daily lives of viewers, I think social media is going to be key in order for the broadcast industry to grow. Meteorologists will need to be able to use their weather software for keeping viewers updated on television and online. Graphically, I think broadcasters will need to walk the fine line between “wowing” viewers and keeping the forecast easy to understand.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a career in broadcast meteorology? If you are interested in meteorology, I would highly recommend you do an internship. Internships are the best way to gain valuable experience and make great connections. It also wouldn’t hurt to start playing around with social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the social networking sites will help you to better connect with your future viewers. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Thanks Jim! I have to say that it wasn’t for Jim, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog or teaching at Lyndon State College. When one of our meteorologist at WCAX became ill suddenly, we picked up the phone and called Lyndon. They sent over Jim, and while still a senior in college, he ended up filling in on weekends for the next two months. He introduced me to Lyndon State and when a spot opened up there, they were on the phone to me. Jim is an excellent guy and I know he’s found a great spot at WSI.