Alumni Spotlight: Marnie Williams
TAMPA, Fla. -- Marnie Williams graduated from the University of South Florida in 1997 with a degree in mass communications, and now is a technical director and associate marketing manager of social media at The Weather Channel in Atlanta, Ga.
Working in both broadcast and social media, Williams said the pace is very different between the two fields. “[Broadcast] was pure adrenaline rush,” she said. “You would come in and you wouldn’t really know typically what a day would consist of.” She recalls times during severe weather when she would be called in to technical direct for four straight hours on the 7-11 p.m. show. She said there was “not much time to breathe.”
To develop her skills outside being a director, Williams also works in the calmer world of social media. She said it is incredible how TV and professional networks now can reach out and have a global effect. Williams said social media is very important to develop a loyalty base with viewers and get immediate responses from them.
“That’s basically the wave of the future for broadcasting,” Williams said.
Williams said the industry has changed a lot since she first started. When she graduated, students had to start off very small in their careers and an editor was just an editor. Nowadays, students have the opportunity to start their careers in one of the top markets, but it is important for students to develop a varied skill set.
“Now you have to know everything,” she said. “All these stations are looking for those one-man band style students where they can come in and write and shoot and deliver their own story.”
To get lead jobs in the industry, Williams said students have to gain relationships with professors in their majors.
“Those are going to be the people that you rely upon for a long time going into the field that you want to be in,” she said.
Through a teacher’s recommendation, Williams interned with Sally Jesse Raphael in New York City the summer of her senior year.
“It’s all about connections in the mass comm. industry,” she said.
Williams also minored in technical writing while at USF. While not at work, she uses her technical writing skills on Examiner.com and a blog she founded a year ago, Grapes & Hops ATL, where she reviews food and wine events as well as restaurants in the Atlanta area.
Though she lives out of state now, Williams still loves USF and is very active in the Atlanta chapter of USF Alumni. Her advice to incoming students is “to have fun when choosing your major and do something that you want to do.” She hopes that her career journey will inspire new mass communications students.
“I would love nothing more than to be able to come back and tell my story,” she said.
Filed under:Arts and Sciences Mass Communications Arts and Sciences Alumni
Author: Erin Toliver