Letters Home: Lee McGuire

The following letter was submitted March 7, 2012

Dear ONA Mizzou,
Lee McGuire is the chief communications officer for
Boston Public Schools. He graduated from the Missouri
School of Journalism in 2000 with a master's in broadcast

Fourteen years ago, KOMU was converting to a tapeless newscast, cell phones were something rare and special that you had to "check out" from the assignment desk, and producing a story for the web was the most revolutionary idea anyone had ever heard of. KOMU and Mizzou prepared me well to adapt to changing technology, the constant reinvention of content platforms as well as the timeless skill of digging for great stories and always telling them well.

With that in mind, here's my advice: Don't just take the first job that comes along because it's in a larger market or seems flashy. Pick a place that will allow you to continue to learn. I was lucky enough to land in a small station in a small city -- a news powerhouse that dominated the market. KTVB in Boise, Idaho had fantastic photographers, terrific on-air talent and extraordinary leadership. I spent just two years there but made friendships that have lasted forever. Just as important, I gained real-world experience from smart people who were willing to teach.

I have met lots of people along the way who jumped into a last-place station in a big market and were miserable within ten minutes. They learned little and were quickly discouraged. Being at a great station in a small town is where young reporters can gain rapid experience and great exposure, do a little (or a lot) of everything and continue to grow by learning from proud, talented people who happen to greatly enjoy what they do.

Here is where I have to admit that two years ago I joined the exciting world of city government. As the Chief Communications Officer for the Boston Public Schools, I take the skills I learned as a daily reporter in Boise, Austin and Houston and use them to help the public understand what's important about education. Sometimes I still feel like I'm covering a hurricane.

Mizzou teaches students how to find and tell great stories across multiple platforms. It doesn't matter whether you are a journalist, a public relations executive, a politician or a pilot -- content is king, and it's vital that you continue to learn how to tell great stories no matter who the audience is or the method they use to understand it. Just make sure you put yourself in a position to continue to learn how to constantly evolve: Always surround yourself professionally with great people who love what they do and are willing to share.

MA '00 Broadcast
Chief communications officer, Boston Public Schools

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Editor's note: If you're a Mizzou journalism alum who would like to contribute to the Letters Home series, send us an email at onamizzou@gmail.com with your letter, your name, your sequence and graduation year, your current job and contact information.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff, Lee. You are spot on. It's all about your ability to tell stories. That requires reporting skills, writing ability, and persistence.