Channel Zero provides a unique glimpse of the TV news industry, told from the perspective of working professionals and students within the Chicago/Midwest chapter. Whether it’s tips, advice or anecdotes, if you have a story to tell and would like to contribute to the blog, email your pitch to

Check out the stations in our chapter:
Chicago, Illinois
WCPX (Ion)

WGBO (Univision)
WSNS (Telemundo)

Peoria-Bloomington, Illinois

Rockford, Illinois

South Bend-Elkhart, Indiana
WYIN (Lakeshore Public Television)

Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin
WCWF (CW 14)

Madison, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Public TV

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
WMVS (Milwaukee Public Television)

Wausau-Rhinelander, Wisconsin



New Job Bank


The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is pleased to announce the launch of its brand new Job Bank.  Job Bank is a free source of available job openings in the television and media industry throughout the U.S., with hundreds of listings for job seekers. Employers in the television and media industries are invited to post job openings as a service to the members of the Academy.  First-time users of Job Bank can begin posting jobs by registering at “POST A JOB” on the site: 

Once registered, job listings can be entered.  Please allow a 24-hour period for your registration to be approved before the postings appear. 

For your information and convenience, we have created an easy-to-use instruction booklet to help you get started.  Here is a link to use: 

If you have any questions or need assistance at any time, feel free to contact the Job Bank team at:


Message from new Board President Steve Novak

01 steve novak.jpgI’d like to take a minute to introduce myself.  I’m Steve Novak, the new president of the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of NATAS.  I have been in the television industry for over 30 years and have seen a lot of changes take place.  From film to tape to digital we are finding better and more efficient ways to preserve our media.  The cameras are smaller, lighter and better.  We can go live from almost anywhere and bring back stunning images that otherwise would not be seen.  Social media is exploding and providing a forum for those who would otherwise be unheard. All of this comes with a tremendous responsibility.  Let’s use this technology wisely and give our viewer, on whatever platform that are watching, something to see.  We can’t and shouldn’t pander to the lowest common denominator, but rise above and take the high road in telling our stories.  The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is dedicated to excellence in television and we must continue to hold ourselves to this standard.


Social Media and the News Experience

Joshua Conner is an aspiring media mogul and philanthropist on a mission to Joshua Conner Headshotlearn, innovate, volunteer, and engage. In 2014, he was a Northwestern University-Medill School of Journalism Social Justice News Nexus Chicago Reporting Fellow. He has reported for Chicago Tribune-The Mash, Columbia Links,

Nancy Loo is an Emmy Award-winning reporter for WGN News, but she also manages her own blog, “Big Tiny World” on WGN’s web site. Loo’s social media chops have allowed her to create a platform to engage viewers both on television and online. I spoke with Loo about her favorite apps and advice on how other television professionals can use social media to give more creditability.

How has social media changed the news landscape?
“The web is a vital frontier for reaching news consumers. There is plenty of evideNancy Loo Courtesy of Nancy Loo WGNTVnce to show that fewer and fewer people are getting their news content via live television, unless there’s major breaking news, of course. I jumped onto the social media bandwagon about eight years ago when I started blogging. Back then, social media was a very new platform for journalists. But I instantly loved being able to interact with viewers.”

What are your favorite apps and how do they help you in the field?
“Facebook is the platform that drives the most web traffic. Being on Facebook is a no-brainer for journalists.”

Loo has more than 480,000 likes on her Facebook fan page and is also experimenting with live video in its Mentions app.

“Twitter is another must. The 140-character limit requires more strategic posting, and it’s quick and easy to respond to people,” said Loo, who has more than 18,000 followers on her Twitter page.

Loo also enjoys using Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare and Periscope, but most importantly, she’s willing to experiment.

“Always be ready to adapt and evolve with social media,” Loo said. “Technology is changing all the time. Some of the apps I experimented with in the past decade no longer exist, while others, namely Facebook and Twitter, are now mainstream. I think journalists who commit to having social media accounts should be the ones managing the accounts, especially if they’re verified. Viewers and followers deserve to know who they’re really
interacting with.”



How to Diversify Your Brand

Joshua Conner is an aspiring media mogul and philanthropist on a mission to Joshua Conner Headshotlearn, innovate, volunteer, and engage. In 2014, he was a Northwestern University-Medill School of Journalism Social Justice News Nexus Chicago Reporting Fellow. He has reported for Chicago Tribune-The Mash, Columbia Links,

If you can diversify your assets, why not diversify your brand? Diversifying your professional brand can take the careers of television professionals to the next level.

I spoke with Ted Brunson for some tips on how TV professionals can diversify their brand, and he should know. Brunson is an Emmy Award-winning television program host and producer, a voice-over artist, and advocate for Autism Speaks. He also hosts “Brunson’s Best” on YouTube.

Brunson says the benefit of being a television professional is that it gives you a platform. There’s several ways you can give the passions and causes you care about the center stage.

Authenticity is important, which means being true to yourself, Brunson says. Understanding your platform helps you to deliver it more genuinely instead of in a  premeditated way.

Brunson has more than 5,000 likes on Facebook and more than 3,000 followers on Twitter, but he doesn’t take them for granted. He advises TV professionals to “really appreciate those who support you,” which includes your family, friTed Brunson Courtesy of Ted Brunson Tribune Broadcastingends and fans.

Consistency is also key. The biggest compliment Brunson receives is that he is the same guy on camera as he is in person.

Maintain your relationships. Even if they don’t go well, don’t burn bridges,” Brunson says, noting that everyone knows everyone in the business. One of the important aspects about networking are having a good first as well as last impression and maintaining a consistent line of communication.

Brunson also advises against limiting yourself.

“Always be open to suggestions, and be humble,” says Brunson, who has diversified his brand by going from a traditional broadcast station to the web.

Brunson says that branding is all about social media and people sharing interests, information and talent.  As long as you pay it forward, you will get it back tenfold.


Sharon Palermo Memorial Scholarship Fundraising Event

lukephoto512bb19eef57fLucas Palermo is a former president of NATAS and a longtime instructor at Columbia College Chicago.

The Sharon Palermo Scholarship is given in memory of my wife, Sharon, who passed away in 2005. The scholarship is co-sponsored by NATAS and the Columbia College Television Department and awarded annually to a senior television major.

We try to make the event a celebration of Sharon’s life, and in the past, have highlighted such things as readings, music, and theater performances in the past.

On February 8, we will be holding our 8th Sharon Palermo Memorial Scholarship Fundraising Event at Columbia College Television Studios at 600 S. Michigan Ave., from 2-5 pm.

This year we will be shooting two, live-streamed, television cooking shows with a live audience during the event on the
web site, airing at 2:45 pm and 3:45 pm.

The cooking segment comes because, as part of the fundraising activities this past year, I compiled two volumes of recipes that were Sharon’s favorites into a 2-volume cookbook with DVD. The sales of the books has been going very well, thanks to an appearance on Windy City Live in November were I appeared on their “home
cook” segment with the story of the cookbook and Sharon. You see during our 30-year marriage, we made a pact that we would have dinner with each other every night when humanly possible. It worked and we enjoyed those dinners so much that I decided to share the memories and food with everyone.

There will be a silent auction and raffles of some wonderful items including television station tours, flat screen TV, a week stay at our private home in Arizona, lottery tickets from all the states in the county, and many more, plus of our food and drinks!

Tickets to the event and copies of the cookbook can be purchased on the Sharon Palermo Scholarship web site.

If you can’t make the event, you can still watch it live. Hope to see you there!


Emmys 2013: Category 20-h Winner Maria Elena Ponticiello

Kathleen Virginia Photography

Maria Elena Ponticiello is a entertainment reporter for Telemundo Chicago. This year she won Emmys for Outstanding Crafts Achievement for On-Camera Talent — Program/Host/Moderator, and Outstanding Achievement for Special Event Coverage for her contributions to the Telemundo Chicago Auto Show 2012.

My mother often said to me: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. This quote made an impression on me, and luckily for the past 18 years, I have woken up every morning thanking destiny for allowing me to do exactly what I love the most. However, my perspective about my job took on a whole different meaning when I won my first Emmy back in 2008.  It became clear to me then that  not only was I fortunate  enough to have found my true passion, but that  other professionals in my field were acknowledging that passion and rewarding my efforts.

Onasis Odelmo Photography

To think that my work in their eyes was worth the most prestigious recognition there is in the television industry inspired me to become a better journalist, and a better mentor for those who wish to pursue this wonderful profession.

This year the Emmy Ceremony was particularly special; not only because I won the two statuettes that I was nominated for, but also because my daughters were old enough to be  very involved in the whole pre-ceremony process. They could not wait for the day to arrive, and when it finally did, the excitement in their faces was priceless. Their little hands helped me put bobby pins in my hair so that my up-do would stay in place, they helped me put my outfit together, and they gave me ideas of what to include in my speech.  Having their involvement reminds me of why I work the long hours and why every day I work to be an inspiration to them.

I hope that the eight Emmys that I have been blessed to win since 2008 — prominently displayed  at our home —  help to remind my girls that dreams do come true and that work can become pleasure when you do what you love. That is the message that my mother always taught me and that I am hoping to pass along to my lovely children.


Emmys 2013: Category 18a Winner Tracy Almeda-Singian

Credit: Kathleen Virginia Photography

“Did I put a sentence together?!”

That was the first question I asked my colleague and partner in crime Christian Robins, just after we walked off stage to accept the award for Outstanding Achievement for Commercials- Single Spot.

As I walked up to the podium that night, the only thing I could think of was just how many people we needed to thank. I think I mentioned it in my speech, but it takes an army to make good things happen and we were extremely fortunate to have the best team work on Brand Anthem.

Having a Brand Anthem is something my boss Jon Muir had wanted for a while and we were committed to make it happen.  We dove in right away… I wrote a script, started reviewing the footage that Robin Fenlon and I had shot over the past year and worked with our crew at Bridges: Christian, Chris Dilillo and Erica Hilbert. This was going to be our biggest project to date and I knew it was a going to go well when we hit the editing bay with a Bari meatball sandwich in hand! Haha J It is always a blast working with Bridges…they are amazingly insightful and sharp. Christian is a genius with the visual effects and came up with a super cool treatment for the piece. We are fortunate to have his talent every step of the way.

Wilson has been based in Chicago for almost 100 years, so we wanted to make sure that the music we chose had ties to the city. It was rad to get Chicago native Kaskade aka Ryan Raddon as part of this project. We chose Kaskade “Eyes”, which is one of the my favorite ‘get psyched’ songs of all time.

This spot really makes me smile because it is a culmination of a lot of hard work from our team and fun memories from on the road. Robin and I spent a crazy amount of time together trying to capture these great moments around Wilson in tennis. Robin is a former pro BMX’r that brings a unique look to our brand and he has been an important part of the Wilson team for a couple of years now. Most importantly, he is someone I can discuss my love of the fish eye lens with.

Credit: Onasis Odelmo Photography

My career as a WTA professional tennis player was cut short due to injury and there is no guide book on ‘how to transition from pro sports’ into a ‘normal’ job or life. If you ask any former pro athlete what they intend on doing after they play, most of the time they would not have a clear answer. I have been fortunate enough to have people that believed in me and my talent. Their support has led me to the some of my favorite moments in my life: coaching kids to receive a tennis scholarship to a Division 1 schools, directing a pro tennis tournament, raising over $350+k for a two children’s charities, starting Wilson social media, setting a Guinness Book of World Records and now WINNING AN EMMY! Tennis has given me so many unique experiences that I can never get enough of trying to put that passion on screen.

The Brand Anthem really represents everything Wilson Sporting Goods does in tennis. It is meant to inspire the next generation of tennis players. Wilson has been part of more winning moments in tennis than any other brand (with over 500+ Grand Slam titles won with a Wilson racket), but those results come from the hard work and dedication to our grassroots efforts at all levels of the sport: kids, coaches, players and partnerships. Roger Federer started playing Wilson when he was 6 and now owns almost every tennis record there is.. all playing with a Wilson racket. We wanted to have this spot represent that love and passion we have for tennis.

We would have never thought that we would win an Emmy, but it just shows that anything is possible with passion, determination and the right team in your corner.

It means a lot to us that Brand Anthem was recognized and that it resonated with our peers.

Thank you again.

Until later,

Tracy Almeda-Singian

PS And maybe I am biased now, but an Emmy sure beats a Wimbledon trophy! 😉