A Talented News Anchor and a Clam Shucking Champ?
Today’s Monday Maine Maven is Shannon Moss, anchor for WMTW News 8. Shannon joined WMTW in June of 2007 to co-anchor News 8 This Morning but has worked in the market since 1999. As a journalist, she is best known for her groundbreaking work on breaking news and safety-related stories.
The days are hectic, but despite the hours and deadline pressure it’s a job Shannon is passionate about. She first got bit by the “news bug” in the eighth grade during a career fair. She later received her degree in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island.
After graduating, Shannon worked behind-the-scenes at a TV station in Providence, writing and editing news copy. She got her first big break as a news reporter at a small cable TV station in Massachusetts, covering news in Fall River and New Beford.
Prior to working in Maine, she reported and anchored at a TV station in Wausau, Wisconsin.
It was Shannon’s love of New England that brought her back east in the late 90s along with her husband and their two boys, Quinn and Rowen. Since the move, they’ve been enjoying everything the state has to offer.
1. Who was your broadcasting idol growing up and why?
There are a few! I grew up during the days of the “Big Three” era of Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather. I tended to watch Brokaw and Jennings the most, and remember being in awe of them as they anchored difficult, marathon sessions during huge world events like the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, the first Gulf War and of course, 9/11.
Diane Sawyer was and continues to be a favorite of mine. She is an incredible journalist who has remained timeless and relevant in a finicky business.
2. As a morning news anchor, what time do you get up and what are some of the things you do at the studio to prepare for the morning newscast?
That is the question I get asked the most! I get up at 2:30 a.m. and arrive at the station around 3:15. Then, it’s straight to the computer to read through two and a half hours of scripts, make whatever changes are needed, shoot a Facebook tease, put on some makeup and hit the set for our 4:30 start time. After the show there are news updates, Web updates and on some days, story shoots, as well. While it may not sound like it, no two days are the same!
3. As the four-time defending clam shucking champion at the Yarmouth Clam Festival, you’ve developed quite a reputation. Tell us about the pride you take in the event AND how did you learn to shuck clams that fast?
The Yarmouth Clam Festival is a great Maine tradition! I think it’s wonderful how the community comes together to celebrate summer and raise funds for Yarmouth’s school groups, churches and nonprofits.
As for the clam shucking contest? I love the event and get really excited for it every year! It’s a fun rivalry between the local TV stations and for the past two years, radio stations, too. I’m not sure why I seem to have a knack for shucking clams–I think I’m just really competitive! And, of course, I have the best shucking partner, News 8′s Norm Karkos!
4. With years of TV experience, is there a moment or interview in your career that you are most proud of?
It’s hard to believe I’ve been in this business for 18 years, 12 of them right here in Maine. The stories I am most proud of were done in Maine and were a series of public safety stories where my photographer and I would team up with police and fire departments to show how to get people out of dangerous situations. The most powerful story addressed how to get out of a burning building alive. We were able to show through video why staying low in a house fire is critical and how keeping your bedroom doors shut while you’re sleeping could be the difference between life and death.
As for the best moment? My very first day as an on-air news reporter, I got to cover Mother Theresa’s visit to Fall River, Massachusetts. As you can imagine, it was an exciting day to begin my career.
And this may sound a little silly, but I have always felt like she has blessed my career in some small way.
5. What is the best way for a PR person to suggest a story to you?
Email is perfect, but depending on what the event is or what story you want covered, you always want some kind of catch to get the media there, something visual to attract viewers.
Stations constantly receive press releases and requests, so you want yours to stand out. Look for an angle that would make the story or location of the event or press conference different, something we haven’t done before, something timely.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to follow up with a phone call!