My latest High Powered Professional Mover & Shaker is Anne Dill! Ms. Dill is a News Anchor for WCIA 3 News in Champaign, Illinois and has 14 years of experience in the media business. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her deliver the news firsthand during my monthly news segments on the WCIA 3 Morning Show.
Prior to working at WCIA 3 News, Ms. Dill worked at KGAN in Iowa City, IA and WPBN in Traverse City, MI. She holds several honors including the Central Illinois Business Magazine’s 40 Under 40 (2010), United Way of Champaign Difference Maker Award (2011), Community Builder Award – Urbana Masonic Lodge (2008) and Outstanding Media Award (2008). Ms. Dill is heavily involved in the Champaign-Urbana community and has held several leadership positions including her incoming Board of Director position for the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana, Co-chair of Ready.Set.Grow! for the United Way and Emcee for the MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon since 2003. She has also served on several committees for local charity fundraising opportunities.
Ms. Dill graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, IN. She is a member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association. I am extremely excited to feature Ms. Dill as a Mover & Shaker on High Powered Professional! She is an excellent example of someone who is using their passion and unique gifts to sustain a highly successful career!
Q: Tell me about your current role as News Anchor for WCIA 3 News? What does a “normal” day look like for you? What are you doing when you’re not on TV?
There is no such thing as normal!!! But basically, I come in an hour before the show starts to read through scripts and make adjustments. My producers come in around midnight to start writing the show. We are on the air for 4 hours, constantly tweaking scripts, adjusting live shots, and updating Twitter and Facebook. When I get off the air, we cut promos for the next day’s show and debrief with the crew about what went wrong and what went right. Then I spend 3 hours booking guests for upcoming shows and formatting those scripts. I am responsible for booking 20 of our 35 live/local/in-studio guest segments every week. I answer emails and go home! Of course, all of that is thrown out the window on breaking news days!
Q: Being a TV Anchor has got to be an awesome experience! What is it like working for WCIA 3 News? Tell me about the perks!
Not many!! It sounds cooler than it is! Especially when my kids don’t think it’s any big deal! Perks in my contract include getting reimbursed for some clothing and make-up, and we have a trade for advertising to have my hair done. Other than that, it’s a pretty normal 40 hour a week job! Many people think we have a hair stylist at the station to do our hair every morning, not true!
Q: There are lots of people who dream of doing the type of work that you do! Tell me how you landed your job!
I did radio for 4 years in college and just decided to make my hobby my career. I held 3 internships while still in school and took a producing job after graduation. I eventually moved up to a reporter position after being there for 6 months, was called to move to Iowa, and then applied to WCIA when I got married and moved to Champaign, IL. I was a reporter here (WCIA) for 2 years before the morning anchor position opened up.
Q: What would you say are the essential skills that one must have to enter your industry? And, are there any tips that you can provide for those who are interested in your field?
Definitely an ability to think and talk on the fly. Organization is a must and composure under pressure. You also can’t be afraid to ask questions. There are many times I’ve had to ask the family of murder victims to tell me about their loved one right after their death, or question a politician on a controversial decision. You have to be pretty pushy to meet deadlines too. If someone is interested in getting into journalism, I recommend they get a few internships. You obviously need an education, but many of these skills can’t be taught in a classroom.
Q: I’m a firm believer that you must have passion for the work that you do. What do you love about being on the news? And, conversely, what are some of the challenges that professionals should consider before deciding to pursue a career in your field?
I got into this because I wanted to be a storyteller. I love that I can tell the stories of our community and the people here. When it comes down to it, everything is a story – even why parking fees are going up. And I love that it’s different every day. I’m still amazed by the incredible things people do to help one another and improve their communities.
In terms of challenges, you have to expect the unexpected. Just when you have a story pinpointed, you may do an interview and discover the real story is something completely different. Or breaking news happens and you have to ditch what you’ve already done. Also, you’ll never work a “normal” 9 to 5 job. All shifts either come in at midnight, 4 am, 9:30, or 2:30. Not to mention weekends and holidays are still “all hands on deck”. It took me 11 years in the business to get Christmas Day off! And this year only because it was a Saturday!
Q: Staying power is just as important as actually getting the job. So, what would you say are the ingredients for success in your field?
The biggest ingredient is respect. Everything else is flavoring. If you don’t have respect of the viewers – they won’t take your stories to heart, if you don’t have the respect of your interviewees – they won’t open up to you, and if you don’t have the respect of your colleagues – you can’t collaborate. Add a pinch of humor, diligence, perserverence and elbow grease!