Opportunity presents itself in varying degrees and at varying times. For me, it has recently presented itself in Omaha, Nebraska.
I was able to share the experiences I had leading our team’s digital coverage in Springfield during the time of events in Ferguson, Missouri. At the time I was joined by some of the top journalism minds in the region.
The trip was not only my first exposure to Omaha, but also to our stations in the market. I instantly saw a brand dedicated to quality local content that impacted lives in their community, which was not unfamiliar to our operation in Springfield.
When I started in Springfield over three years ago as a part-time on-air reporter, it was this dedication that drove me to push the boundaries of our digital expectations and its integration with the company’s proud history.
I can recount stories as early as seven years old, listening to KTTS News with my grandma in the car, practicing my best “voice of god” as I created my own storm coverage on a karaoke machine in my room, and following along with Don Louzader on my KTTS Storm Alert map when severe weather moved through the area.
As my experiences grew as a student at Drury University, so did my role in Springfield. I would eventually be named the first Digital Content Producer in the market, overseeing content on all four of our market-leading radio stations. This role has allowed me to experience some of the most incredible opportunities in the world. Some of them have been beyond my wildest dreams: Calling in a report on the Cardinals at Fenway Park in Boston during the 2013 World Series; Getting to hangout with the boys from Florida Georgia Line during one of my first concert assignments; However, the experiences that resonate the most are the ones that impacted the lives of our listeners. Working countless hours on the “Back The Blue” fundraiser with promotions director Amanda Potter to raise money for Officer Pearson after he was injured in the line of duty; Standing side-by-side with classmates of Hailey Owens as thousands flooded a narrow street to honor her memory; Bringing raw reaction of Drury University’s national basketball championship from the locker room in Atlanta to your radio— these are just a few of the notable moments I have cherished most.
Welcome to #Fenway..#Go #stlcards!! #worldseries #postcards #gameone A photo posted by ©hase Snide® (@chasesnider) on
Along the way I’ve also had the chance to develop skills I never thought would become so valuable. Seeing incentives like #KTTS and our digital severe weather coverage come to life have been rewarding in ways I could never imagine. Similar to the stories I’ve covered, the MBA and Murrow-winning entries I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of will never compare to the joy I’ve found in helping our newsroom and on-air staff discover their digital skills. Assistant News Director Nancy Simpson’s story sticks out in my mind best. We grew together from her Twitter-less days to her being a pioneer for digital product innovation in our newsroom (give her a follow, @KTTSNancy).
Former Power 96.5 night personality Nathan Graham also comes to mind. We worked on projects like #1KeyFor1D and #ConfessionNight that brought real value to the brand. Just days ago he accepted a promotion to also propel his career to the next level as the Assistant Program Director at WXSS in Milwaukee.
Of course not all of my success has been tied to the station. In 2012 I suffered one of my biggest set backs when I was in a debilitating car crash after being hit by my roommate. The months to follow would find me laid up in bed, unable to work or attend class. I faced a major crossroad as to how I would attack the challenge.
The drive of a new mentor helped me spearhead the challenge— just months before I had started interning for Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association Executive Director, Crista Hogan. By the time I left to say I was an intern would be a gross understatement. Crista taught me work ethics that simply cannot be instilled by a textbook and management skills I can only hope to one-day replicate.
She introduced me to amazing individuals in our community like Neale and Newman partner, Mark McQueary and Lost and Found Grief Center Executive Director, Karen Scott. These new professional mentors helped inspire me to look beyond my job and find ways to connect with the community. Sharing the message of Lost and Found became a passion of mine and I looked for to stay involved in any way that I possibly could. Meanwhile, I discovered my love for St. Jude and the value it provides on local and national levels. I was exposed to the organization every day at KTTS, which partners with the organization as a Country Cares radio station; but it was Mark and Karen that made me realize I needed to be more than a passive donor.
I was so fortunate to be surrounded by dozens of other professional mentors that provided countless similar experiences. Amanda Potter grew from a colleague to best friend, as did some of my earliest mentors like Don Louzader and Nancy Simpson. Nancy pushed me to go to class when I wanted to be on the front lines of a standoff and Don saw the potential in me before I even knew it existed. As my professional career developed, I met new colleagues like Lauren Connery, who became a close friend that kept my best interest at heart while making sure I knew to grow when the time was right for me. Alongside mentors from early on in my life, like family friend and Kickapoo Journalism advisor Leslie Orman, I was able to make informed career decisions.
Fun night with two of my biggest supporters and favorite people! #winewalk #sgf A photo posted by ©hase Snide® (@chasesnider) on
Louie stopped to wish some champions good luck! #ChaseRuns A photo posted by ©hase Snide® (@chasesnider) on
As much as my professional life grew, it was always anchored each and every day by the three pillars of my life: faith, family and friends. After my accident, faith exposed itself more. While it had always been an important part of my life, it shifted to becoming the focus. Over the years I may have lost the path to my faith but I knew that it had never left me. Furthermore, for every day that I missed a step, my family and friends were there to pick me up.
My mom has dedicated her entire life to creating an atmosphere where I can find success and model the values that she has instilled in me. The months to come will offer a difficult transition, but I have full faith that they will only strengthen the bond our family has and foster an even more incredible connection. I will never be able to adequately represent what she has done for me in this post, so I simply say: thank you.
Then there are my friends. I’ll attempt to limit the names I call out because I’ll inadvertently leave out at least a dozen that are equally as important. I will however, single out three: Chase McIntosh, Tyler Shipley and Riley de Leon.
Chase, more commandingly known as Chase #1 (yes, that does mean I’ve open- heartedly embraced being Chase #2) taught me that life is more than an on-call shift and college is a time for exploration. He is the brother I never had. From taking over Busch Stadium to conquering most of downtown Springfield, there’s not a better guy I could ask to spend my college days with (and of course, he was the mastermind behind promoting my #AwkwardTaylorTouch).
Our news director (@KTTSDon) Don Louzader gave @bigmac1142 & I the honor of hanging out in the #STLCards press box for a bit tonight. From seeing Mike Shannon to taking in the #STL skyline, it was amazing. Couldn’t ask for a better friend to experience it with on #CardsHOF weekend. #ChasesGoToSTL A photo posted by ©hase Snide® (@chasesnider) on
If Chase taught me to push the boundaries then Tyler was there to reign me back in. In times that tested my will, my endurance, and even my faith, he guided me back to the center of the road.
Finally, Riley has been my success-driven brother that I must have been separated from at birth. From #ChaseGoesToDallas in the pit at the ACM Awards to bouncing ideas off of each other for our new businesses, we have concurred more than one incredible concept together. I can only imagine the great things to come from this young entrepreneur.
We came. We saw. We conquered! #acmawards50 #ChaseGoesToDallas #dallas A photo posted by ©hase Snide® (@chasesnider) on
For all three of you, I am eternally grateful and know you will be by my side at #ChaseGetsMarried.
Speaking of relationships (no, not marriage), I couldn’t have been more blessed than to have my girlfriend Kori enter my life. Although God has presented us with a new challenge in our young relationship, I am confident He will give us the tools to navigate the weeks and months ahead in ways only He knows how.
I share this with all of you first, not only so that you know how hard the decision I’ve made has been on me, but also so that you know what an incredible network of support I’ve been blessed with for this opportunity to even present itself. After much thought, prayer, and discussion I have accepted the Director of Digital Operations position for our TV station, KMTV, along with their five sister radio stations in Omaha, Nebraska.
#tbt to taking over the anchor desk at #KMTV last month! Thanks for the warm welcome from my #Omaha friends. #ChaseGoesToOmaha @EWScrippsCo #AllForScripps #Television A photo posted by ©hase Snide® (@chasesnider) on
I’ll begin my new adventure in mid-September and plan on celebrating the news with as many of you as I can until then.
The position keeps me with The E.W. Scripps Company, which made accepting the promotion that much easier. This is a company that has had an impressive 125 years of dedication to meaningful journalism and pushing the boundaries on how we connect, engage, and inform our audiences.
I am grateful to my new bosses Chip Mahaney and Laura Tomlin for presenting me with this opportunity.
For those of you that are wondering (yes Mom, that’s you), I will be finishing my Business degree with Drury University. The incredibly supportive staff has been working with me during the transition to schedule my final semesters online so that I can be successful both academically and professionally.
Springfield has been and always will be my hometown. I’ll still root on my Springfield and St. Louis Cardinals, crave the real Cashew Chicken, and be on the lookout for a thrown roll along Highway 65.
Until then: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot