Westmont Magazine Made for Television
Chandrea Miller ’93 got her first job as an on-air news reporter at KHOG, an ABC affiliate in Fayetteville, Ark. For the Southern California native, it was a complete culture shock.
“I had never been to the South, and it took me five months to assimilate,” she recalls. “Then I began to realize that people are really all the same, they just come from different places.” She did chicken stories, reported from a tractor and covered breaking news.
Fifteen months later she moved up to a larger market in Colorado Springs, Colo. At KKTV, the CBS affiliate, she continued reporting breaking news but did so in a more sophisticated community at a station with more advanced technology. “I learned the most in Colorado,” she says. She also had an opportunity to freelance for the CBS station in Denver and covered a big national story about a manhunt for three men who shot a police officer.
Longing to return to California, she took her next job in Fresno at NBC-affiliated KSEE. She did the morning news there and got up at 2:30 a.m. After a year of early mornings and no social life, she decided on-air news reporting was no longer fun. She left the station and returned to Los Angeles.
Since she had learned how to write, shoot and edit as well as report on camera, Chandrea figured there were other ways to use her skills. She started trying to break into television shows. Landing a job with Real TV, a Writer’s Guild show, allowed her to join that important organization. She spent a year at Real TV as a writer and producer, which turned out to be the perfect cross-over job. Next she went to the Travel Channel, where she produced special shows on topics such as the top 10 beaches.
Today she works as field producer and director for “Life Moments,” a new NBC daytime show that celebrates special events in women’s lives. Airing for an hour each weekday, the show offers an upbeat alternative to traditional daytime fare.
“‘Life Moments’ is part of a new TV genre that popped up after 9-11,” she explains. “People want to see more positive programs; they want to be inspired. Working on the show has been rewarding. I get so much out of talking with wonderful women.”
People featured on the show have included a high school student without legs attending her senior prom, a women going to stunt school to fulfill a life dream and two breast cancer survivors celebrating their birthdays.
An English major at Westmont, Chandrea minored in communication studies and went on England Semester. She also wrote for the Horizon for a year. She values the education she received, but it lacked the kind of credentials television stations usually expect when hiring news reporters.
To gain television experience, Chandrea landed an internship with KCBS in Los Angeles after she graduated and eventually became a producer there. “I worked with a great reporter and started finding stories for him. It was a crash-course in journalism,” she recalls.
Hard work and determination have helped Chandrea break into two highly competitive fields: on-air news reporting and television production. Her success and drive make her the kind of inspiring woman featured on “Life Moments.”