This is the first in a series of profiles celebrating the work of our alumni for Black History Month. Please see the newslider at the bottom of this article for additional profiles.
Ron Schofield has spent his career working in broadcast media and currently serves as executive producer of owner & operator relations at NewsNation/Nexstar in Chicago, a company where he has served various roles for more than 20 years. NewsNation was started about a year ago as a three-hour nightly national news show broadcast nightly to more than 190 local stations and 75 million households. Prior to Nexstar, Schofield served in various communications roles including WYCC PBS Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago and 11 years as Midwest bureau chief of ABC News.
Schofield was a broadcast journalism major at UGA and was involved with Kappa Alpha Psi and WUOG, where he produced the “Power of Soul” radio programming, served as a DJ and worked as a news anchor.
“My best friends in life came from UGA and we all still stay in touch,” Schofield said of his days on campus.
He also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Chicago/Midwest Chapter. He has two daughters: one who is a fellow UGA alumna and a physician in Atlanta, and one who is in college in California studying strategic corporate communications.
Following are excerpts of an interview with Schofield:
Grady College: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?
Ron Schofield: I had two professors in journalism school, Bill Martin and Al Wise. To this day, I am a stickler for being on time after taking a class from Al that started at 7:50 a.m., because he only allowed you to come in late once. A second late arrival dropped you a letter grade and after three, you failed his class, which we needed to graduate. His reasoning made sense to me: If you are going to be in TV news, you must always make deadline and being a few seconds late is unacceptable. Bill Martin did two things that I found memorable, and helpful. In broadcast writing we would always ask questions like “how do you say, ‘the officer was shot in the chest?’” His answer would be, “say it just like that and don’t try to spice it up.” He also took us to O’Malley’s, which was a bar down the street from the journalism school, on Fridays. His reasoning also made sense to me: if you’re going to be in this business, you need to learn to socialize and still keep your head about you.
GC: Looking back, what do you wish that you would have done in college that would have helped you in your career?
RS: I really wish I had networked more, or at all. I had a tendency to rely on people I know and reluctant to approach those I did not. I would do a better job at reaching out for contacts, maybe even taking a few more chances instead of being terrified at failing. We graduated during a recession in 1983 and I got a ton of rejection letters, but the job I found came from a call from my professor to a former student.
GC: What advice would you give to young students of color who will soon enter the workforce?
RS: No one owes you anything, go work hard, put in the effort and get what you want. You have to work hard and if anyone is willing to help you, accept it and take advantage of the opportunity.
GC: What is one piece of advice you live by?
RS: Not everyone will be good at their job. Accept that and remain true to your own work ethic.
GC: What motivates you and keeps you going on challenging days?
RS: I’m a few years from retirement and more than looking forward to it. I don’t want to go somewhere new at this point, nor do I want the biggest job in the room. The people who work for me have a great deal of respect for me and I know that. They know they can count on me and I can do the same with them.