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CNN Producer Eric Hall gives industry tips to students at Elon University

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By Julia Sayers

Eric Hall speaks to a group of Elon students about writing and internship tips. Photo by Lauren Ramsdell

Eric Hall, an Elon alumnus and now a CNN producer, had to go through four internships and three jobs before landing a steady position with CNN, showing that hard work pays off.

Hall spoke to a class of reporting students on Feb. 14 giving tips on writing, internships and keeping up with the industry.

One of the most important tips Hall gave students was to know how to write.

“Know how to write everything- long form, short form, e-mails,” Hall said. “Be prepared to write anything.”

A major point that Hall enforced is how the industry is ever-changing and you have to be creative to keep up.

“You have to think outside the box to survive,” Hall said. “The game changes every day and you have to know it and advance in it.”

Hall told students to be aggressive when it comes to internships. He advised students to do things above their pay grade in their spare time to prove to themselves they can do it.

“The most important thing is being there and going above and beyond,” Hall said.

Working the industry is an important part in getting a job.

“In this industry it’s a big turnstile,” Hall said. “A lot of people go in and out quickly, which is good. It opens up opportunities.”

Landing a job in the industry involves many factors.

“The industry is constantly changing so it really depends on opportunity, luck, timing and what you put into your work,” Hall said.

Hall really emphasized the idea of “rolling with the punches,” especially because people hardly get their dream job right away. He says it’s tough to start any job with the mindset of being on top.

“You’re going to get down on yourself if you’re not where you want to be,” Hall said. “You just have to roll with the punches.”

During his time at Elon, Hall wrote for the opinions section of the student newspaper, The Pendulum. Hall started off with internships ranging from working for a minor league baseball team to working on “The View.” Directly out of college, Hall worked at a firm interviewing people. In August of that year, he got a call from Barbara Walters’ people offering him a freelance position for three months. Hall wrestled with the decision, knowing it would be an unsteady job.

“I wasn’t going to do it but then I woke up one morning and Peter Jennings had died and I felt like I was missing something,” Hall said. “I wanted to be in the middle of the action.”

Hall began freelancing for Barbara Walters and also worked for CNN and Fox News before taking a producer job with CNN in Atlanta. Hall currently writes for the 3-5 p.m. show, hosted by Brooke Baldwin.

“I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many great people and so many different people,” Hall said.

Being a writer and a producer, Hall tries to keep a balance of news and cover everything.

“We keep it fresh and new, People want to know what’s happening and what’s going to happen,” Hall said. “Variety is key.”

Hall talked about how it is a great resource to have partners out in the world like CNN does.

“I’m so lucky to be working at a place where the news comes to you,” Hall said. “CNN is known all over the world.”


Written by juliasayers

February 14, 2011 at 11:04 pm

One Response

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  1. Audiences crave photos or graphics right up by the top headline. On a speaker story a still photo is an absolute requirement. If you can’t get a good still frame pulled off your Flip video (usually you can grab a piece and Photoshop it and make it look pretty good), you should be asking someone who took still photos if you can use one of theirs and credit that photographer in the caption.


    February 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm

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