If You Think It, It Can Happen

Steven Hurn is a Production Assistant with Harpo Creative Works | OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago where he studied Television Arts: Directing & Production.

I remember standing outside the beautiful, brand new, state of the art, State Street studio of ABC7 Chicago. As most people waited for their 15 seconds of Chicago news fame, I stood off to the side fixated on the inner-working’s of the live news set.

It was fascinating, it was exciting and it was real. I said to myself, ‘I am going to work here one day.’

Fast forward a few years later and it was official. I joined the new morning show as one of the first six interns. From an entire floor of empty offices, to a show with no name, no hosts and no set, I was able to see a show launch from the ground up. I was able to see a concept come to life.

It was an experience I am forever grateful for, fortunate to have been a part of, and one that I will never forget.
After six short months being a part of Windy City Live, my next dream soon became a reality. And it was also a goal that was prompted by an epiphany.

When I was a kid, I had the chance to visit Harpo Studios for a benefit where I volunteered to help at-risk children. As I stepped foot into the studio I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do. It was fascinating, and the energy I felt being in the space was like nothing I had ever experienced. To this day, I credit my perseverance in the field of television to that day I first visited Harpo.

And now I’ve worked at Harpo Productions for nearly two years. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work on and produce commercials for the nationally-syndicated Dr. Oz Show and for the Oprah Winfrey Network, along with various other projects including the Rosie Show, Oprah’s Lifeclass, Super Soul Sunday, Oprah’s Next Chapter to name a few.

Expressing my interests, sharing my ideas and showing my strengths and talents, along with hard work, dedication and volunteer work have led me to where I am today.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and if you can think it, it truly can happen.


The Day the News Bug Hit

Pam Grimes is an Emmy award winning producer at Superstation WGN-TV in Chicago. She’s been on the Board of Governors of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for several years and also serves on the Executive Committee.

Pam Grimes circa early 1980s

Pam Grimes circa early 1980s

I set foot in a newsroom for the very first time on January 22, 1973. I was applying for a newsroom secretary’s job at the ABC station in my home town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Within minutes of my arrival, bells started clanging and chaos erupted. Back then, breaking news came from Associated Press and United Press International machines with ear splitting sound effects.

A normal office setting instantly transformed into people ripping wire copy, yelling instructions and racing into broadcast booths to read it on air. The Supreme Court had just legalized abortion in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Before I left that day, President Lyndon B. Johnson died, creating a new wave of newsroom excitement. It was a glimpse into a whole new world for me, and I decided that second that the energy of a newsroom is where I belonged. I got the job.

Women were very rare in newsrooms in the early 70s. Timing is everything and I’m living proof. I partially credit Affirmative Action that required newsrooms to hire women and minorities. I wasn’t a very good secretary.

Pam and the news team at KWWL-TV in Waterloo, Iowa.

But the news director liked my voice and let me do radio headline news during the Sunday morning Polka Hour. Don’t laugh! It had a HUGE following. They also needed someone to do the weather on the Sunday night television broadcast. I stunk at that too. But nine months later I was hired by one of the best in the

business, news director Grant Price, at KWWL TV, the NBC affiliate in Waterloo. My job was reading radio headlines on the hour and half hour from 2 p.m.-midnight, which left my days free to go to school.

Pam at the 2012 DNC convention, along with co-workers Jordan Guzzardo and Micah Materre.

Over the almost decade I was “paying my dues,” I learned to write, edit, report, anchor and eventually produce the No. 1 rated 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

Over the past 40 years, I’ve played a role in covering major news stories such as the

Challenger explosion, the execution of serial killer John Wayne Gacy and the inauguration of the first black President of the United States. I’ve interviewed world leaders, been chased by tornadoes, and slept in an ice hotel in Alaska. I can honestly say I’ve never been bored one day in this business. And if people tell you news is dead, they forget that good storytelling and solid content never grow old.