Reporting Live from Lansing, Michigan
Not long ago, Maureen Halliday was set to take a job as a reporter in Alaska. Then, as she explained, “They called me and said they were going in a different direction. So I panicked because I thought, ‘Well, if I can’t get a job in Alaska, of all places, how am I ever going to get one at all?!’”
She stayed up late after work the next night and applied to a television station in Lansing, Michigan. A few days after Thanksgiving, she flew to Lansing for an interview; and the following day, she was offered the job – and now holds the title of multimedia journalist with station WILX.
Halliday, 23, grew up in Point Pleasant. Her senior year at Point Pleasant Borough High, she decided she wanted to pursue a career as a news reporter. She had committed to OCC “because it was a great way to figure out what I wanted to do as a career without spending money on a school that might not have had the program I needed,” and soon found her way to the digital mass media program, and to Professor Gary Shaffer and Professor Lee Kobus.
“Professor Shaffer always made class fun, but my biggest takeaway from his class was learning how to write,” said Halliday. “It sounds weird saying that because everyone knows how to write, but he taught me structure, and I think that’s one of the most important aspects to a news story. Professor Kobus taught me about editing stories and packages,” which was a terrific asset, she pointed out, once she’d graduated from OCC in May 2016 and enrolled at Boston University. Thanks to Professor Kobus, Halliday noted, “I was one of the only students in the classes that knew how to work the editing software.
“I think these professors, along with all of my other ones, gave me the tools to succeed at BU and within my career. I feel that since I went to both a two-year and a four-year school I’ve become more well-rounded because I have two kinds of education, and that’s not something a lot of people can say.”
She added, “I don’t think I would have been accepted to BU after high school, but having a great education at OCC and maturing as a person, I think I was able to stand out to BU and other universities.”
While at OCC, Halliday also wrote for the Viking News, including a popular entertainment column called “Happy Halliday.” When she wasn’t busy with school work, she babysat and interned at Ocean Medical Center in both the public relations and communications departments.
Halliday is as busy now as ever, but her days are a bit differently rearranged. “I work the morning shift (at WILX) so I get to the station at 3:30 a.m. and leave around 11:30 a.m. It’s so great because I do my live shots from 4:30 to 7 a.m. and then I go off with a camera by myself to film an event or get an interview with someone for a package or soundbite for the evening show. I think my favorite thing about this job is being able to explore this city, which I probably wouldn’t be able to do if I had a normal desk job working 9 to 5.
“But I really think the people I work with make my job so fun,” she added. “We’re all so close because, honestly, nobody wants to work at 3:30 in the morning, but we make the best of it and have the greatest time.”
In her spare time, Halliday is training for a marathon, and she spends time with friends from work, attending baseball games and social engagements in the area. “It’s an adjustment moving to a state you’ve never been to before without any family or friends living here,” she pointed out, “and it’s important to me to get out of my apartment and be adventurous and make friends.”
Although she lived at home her first two years of college, it didn’t take Halliday long to venture far beyond the borders of Ocean County, New Jersey.
Now, looking back, Halliday stated, “I would definitely recommend OCC to graduating high schoolers. … I think there’s a lot of negative stereotypes about community college. I remember hating the idea of going to OCC, but once I started going to classes, I realized there’s nothing wrong with going there, or any other community college for that matter.”
OCC in particular, she remarked, “puts in a lot of effort to be a progressive college and update its infrastructure and curriculum, which makes it one of the best community colleges.”
[ And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming. ]