Career advances behind camera

Howard County woman gains experience, responsibility at Fox

October 08, 2006|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,Special To The Sun

Cory Howard, a 2000 graduate of River Hill High School and current Columbia resident, has met Jesse Jackson, Kelly Clarkson and Hilary Duff. She's traveled to New Orleans, London, Los Angeles - all part of her job as a booker for the Fox television show On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.

Howard started working at Fox her senior year at Howard University and got a freelance job there after graduating with a major in journalism and minor in education.

But recently, her career got a boost when she qualified for an apprenticeship program created by Fox Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, designed to bolster the visibility and responsibility of minorities at the station.

Maureen Hunt, vice president for human resources at Fox, said the three-year-old program allows participants to learn about jobs that interest them. The program takes four or five participants a year, mostly entry-level employees or those who show that they are ready for more responsibility.

As an apprentice, Howard worked as an administrative assistant to Van Susteren. But before her year was up, she had become the show's booker.

The apprentice program "helped a lot," Howard said. "For me, it was a kind of guidance deal, where they help guide you through the industry."

The program allowed her to learn by "actually getting in the field, actually doing it," she said.

After college, Howard started out in a freelance job on the assignment desk, "basically just juggling different assignments, whatever's thrown at you," she said.

She then became a guest greeter for the booking unit. "I'd have to make sure they got to the studio on time, put their earpiece in, set up their microphone," Howard said.

As assistant to Van Susteren, she did everything from organizing travel plans to providing research.

As booker, she has more responsibility. She travels, she said, helping Van Susteren's crew and often conducting interviews, though she stands behind the camera. She helps book guests, and she stage-manages live reports.

"It's been such an incredible experience," said Howard.

She said Van Susteren has "the most energy of anyone I've ever met," and is "an incredible inspiration as a female in this industry." Van Susteren shares share credit with her co-workers and is "always about team effort," Howard said.

Howard graduated from college with the goal of getting on the air, but she's been enjoying her work behind the scenes, she said. Her goal now is to become a producer, she said.

"I think the next steps for me are pretty much plugging away, doing what I'm doing and learning as much as possible."

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