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My first professional job in the media was as a video editor for a local NBC affiliate in Mobile, AlabamaSony RM 450.  I edited news VOs, SOTs, and PKGs for the 5, 6 and 10 PM broadcasts. Back then, we used linear “tape-to-tape” edit decks and I actually rolled each video manually during the live broadcasts. It seems like such an ancient concept now, but yes people operated broadcasts were a way of life at some point in time and I was a part of it LOL.

I was lucky to work for the station while they transitioned out of linear editing and into the digital space. Our station used EDIUS, but I invested in learning Adobe Premiere and also Final Cut on my own.

In true “Tiffany fashion” I grew restless with only being a video editor, so i pursued more responsibilities within the station. In addition to my editing duties, I became a field producer for consumer segments and a fill-in reporter. During that time, I covered consumer scams, deals and recalls. I also edited tons of news stories for prime time broadcasts. After countless murders and bank robbery tales, my wheels began to turn again.

I wanted to create an outlet for myself to have something a little lighter to supplement my daily crime grind. I also wanted more on-camera time, so I pitched a concept for an entertainment web series that could provide updates on the latest celeb gossip in a entertaining and irreverent way.  I definitely had to persuade a lot of people, because Alabama isn’t exactly the market for celeb gossip and entertainment news. After about a year and an open-minded boss, the Uminutes were born.

My role was similar to that of the modern “station hosts” now. I wrote, hosted and edited entertainment segments for the UPN sister station at WMPI. These segments ranged from 30 seconds to two minutes and they lived online and on television as promos. Pepsi expressed an interest in sponsoring the segments, and before you know it we were managing sponsorships from Pepsi, Powerball, and the Florida Lottery. I would film the Uminutes twice a week, in addition to my regular editing and reporting duties.

It was a great experience that I will never forget. It fed my entrepreneurial spirit, comedic interests, and my need for more on-camera experience all while feeding the station’s need for more revenue.  When I visit my home in Alabama for the holidays, I’ll occasionally see the Uminutes on television.  It’s been over eight years now and something that I created is still a source of revenue for my home station. I can’t help but smile about this. After working at WPMI for about five years, I eventually hit a glass ceiling in the market especially when it came to pursuing digital opportunities and entertainment news at the time. So  I packed up and headed to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television and entertainment.

It’s funny because “Hollywood types” often underestimate degree of work that goes into small and medium market television stations. But the reality is, that our market (#57 out of #206) was expected to deliver the same outstanding product as market #1, with much fewer resources. As someone who has worked for a large international news organization and a smaller local news affiliate, I will always tip my hat to fellow journalists who survived working in the smaller newsroom. I firmly believe that if you can make it at a local news station, you can make it anywhere. I will always have a special place in my heart for WPMI because the foundation that I gained there has given me a versatile set of skills that can be applied anywhere.

Here is a reel that demonstrate my work during my years spent at WPMI. Keep in mind that some of this material was filmed before the days of  social media, internet optimization and high definition.  Look how far we’ve come!

Tiffany Williams – REEL from Tiffany Williams on Vimeo.

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