Dominic Brown (ABJ ’05) is the chief meteorologist for WIS-TV in Columbia, South Carolina. He was recently named TV Weathercaster of the Year by the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas. In the profile below, Brown reflects on his time as a student at Grady College and how it has forged his path to his current work.
What skills learned in college do you most use in your job today?
Dominic Brown: “Storytelling is a huge skill I learned at Grady that I use daily in my job. In fact, being able to tell a compelling news or weather story is one of the most important things about my career. As a meteorologist, effectively communicating the day’s weather story to my viewers is vital to what I do every day on the air. I work hard to connect to my viewers through that skill in order to relate the forecast to them and to make a difference. Even though I don’t shoot video or edit stories as much as I did in my previous on-air jobs, I haven’t lost those skills from Grady. However, I have had to report, enterprise stories and do live shots in my current job, especially during big weather events or after destructive storms – all skills that I learned as a student at the University of Georgia. I’m grateful for all of it.”
What advice would you give to young alumni either looking for their first job or pursuing career advancement?
Brown: “The best piece of advice I would give to young alumni is to stay encouraged and find a mentor. Landing your first job in this industry can be tough. In fact, I can remember mailing my resume tape/reel (Yes, a VHS tape!) to station after station after station before I landed the right job for me to begin my career. I was so discouraged through that process, but I hung in there, and I’m so glad I did. Mentors are also very important. They can help guide you through your career and be a shoulder to lean on for advice.”
What gives you energy and enthusiasm for your work?
Brown: “I think it all comes down to knowing that I’m making a difference in my community and that I’m helping to save lives. As a broadcast meteorologist, I strive to give the best forecast I can on a daily basis. People depend on me, especially during severe weather. Viewers make decisions based on my forecasts, which can affect their families and/or their livelihood. Also, I love to inspire and motivate students through my job. It’s rewarding to know that I’m making an impact and inspiring students to strive for greatness. All of this gives me a lot of drive and energy to be the best meteorologist and communicator I can be every day.”
How do you use social media in a productive way?
Brown: “Social media has played a huge role in my career over the years. It has allowed me to stay connected to viewers beyond our television newscasts. I often do Facebook Lives to give viewers a more detailed look at forecasts and answer any questions they may have for me. I even do short forecasts tailored just for kids on Facebook, so that they’ll know how to prepare for school the next day. Social media has been a great tool to keep my viewers informed. At the same time, I’ve depended on social media to stay connected with the community and with viewers who may have storm reports and pictures to share during certain news and weather events. Those relationships with viewers are so important, and social media has made it easier for those relationships within the community to continue.”
How has your University of Georgia community helped you post-college?
Brown: “I’m so grateful for my UGA community. I’ve made lifelong friends through the University of Georgia, and I’ve met a number of amazing UGA football fans who have always had my back. It’s been a strong and dependable support network for me. There’s nothing seeing another UGA grad or fan in my community and we start calling the Dawgs! That’s love right there. That’s uplifting, and it’s therapeutic! Also, since graduating from college, I’ve stayed connected with several UGA classmates and grads through the University of Georgia Alumni Association and UGA Black Alumni. I’ve had the honor of “coming home” to Athens to be the keynote speaker for the Georgia Scholastic Press Association’s Spring Workshop and Awards luncheon. The UGA community has also stayed in touch with me! Grady College stays in touch with its alumni and checks up on us. Grady has played an instrumental role in my career and keeping me motivated to keep on keeping on. The UGA community has been my backbone, and I’m truly thankful.”
What is your favorite memory from your time in college?
Brown: “I have so many great memories from my time in college, from football games at Sanford Stadium to concerts on campus. But one memory that sticks out is when three friends/UGA classmates and I hit the road to Jacksonville during Fall Break to see Georgia take on Florida. That was an awesome road trip! I’ll never forget it!”