Young Alum Gets Firsthand Look at Hurricane Irma

Cameron Edgeworth, a Trussville, Alabama native and 2015 graduate in mass communications/broadcasting, recently flew into the eye of Hurricane Irma.

Cameron Edgeworth, a Trussville, Alabama native and 2015 graduate in mass communications/broadcasting, is a reporter with  WKRG News 5 in Mobile. He recently flew into the eye of Hurricane Irma with the Biloxi, Mississippi-based Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the Air Force Reserve, or “Hurricane Hunters.” We talked to Cameron about his experiences in the eye of the largest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, and how UAB prepared him for his news career.

""Arts & Sciences Magazine:

Why did you choose UAB?

Cameron Edgeworth:

I initially chose UAB out of affordability, but I quickly fell in love with the university.

A&S:

What attracted you to a major in mass communications/broadcasting? 

CE:

I wanted to major in mass communications/broadcasting to be a television/digital news reporter. Initially, I wanted to be an entertainment news reporter, but minoring in social work pushed me into news because it made me want to tell people's stories and report about what impacts them in their communities. My parents gave me the nickname "CNN" (Cameron News Network) because I was always reporting to them what was going around the house or the neighborhood.

A&S:

Is WKRG your first job out of school?

CE:

As a student, I was part of a paid internship and training program through a company called LIN Media and as part of the program, they paid for my last two years in school in exchange for me committing that I would work for two years at one of their stations when I graduated in April 2015. I was placed at CBS 42 in Birmingham as an Associate Producer in June 2015. Eventually I had the opportunity to do news reporting occasionally. I left CBS 42 in July of 2017 for the full-time reporting job I now have at WKRG News 5.

A&S:

Did you feel UAB prepared you for your career?

CE:

I did feel prepared because I had two internships at different news stations while in college. I also worked part-time at CBS 42 during my senior year in college as a videographer and writer. As a reporter or multi-media journalist you are most likely editing and shooting your own stuff. UAB did a great job at teaching me the art of shooting with different cameras, lighting, and using various editing systems and techniques. Alan Franks did a wonderful job teaching the students about the equipment, and Dr. Jaquelyn Shaia was excellent writing teacher.

A&S:

Did you volunteer to fly into Irma, or was that assigned to you? 

CE:

I guess I volunteered. I had just gotten back from my story assignment around 3:30 on Friday afternoon and heard my boss going around the newsroom asking different reporters if they wanted to fly on a Hurricane Hunters flight into the eye of Hurricane Irma. Everyone quickly said no, and for a minute I thought it was a joke. Once I realized he was serious, I volunteered. I had to finish my story and report live at 5:00 p.m. Then I headed to Biloxi to leave for Hurricane Irma. It was an incredible experience and I learned a lot about the life-saving science that happens on those flights.

A&S:

What advice would you give to prospective students considering UAB? 

CE:

I would say you will get out of it what you put into it. Take every class seriously, and realize by majoring in the field you are in fact a social scientist. When it comes to classes specific for your major, put in the extra time to learn your craft. If you do all those things, you will be prepared for whatever field you enter.

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