Posted July 7, 2017
Chaunté (McLean) Turner (Broadcast Journalism, 2007) is executive producer at WCSC, a CBS News affiliate in Charleston, S.C.
What do you do in your current job?
As an executive producer in local television news, I oversee three and a half hours of news each morning, aggressively pursue breaking news as well as coach a team of eager and experienced producers. I also work closely with reporters, digital content producers and anchors to make sure we are delivering on our brand, "The Lowcountry's News Leader." I also get to oversee special projects such as three hours of live coverage of the Cooper River Bridge Run, which is one of the largest 10K races in the world.
What’s the most interesting or significant thing you’ve done since graduating?
In the last 10 years, I've been able to help cover some of the biggest stories in South Carolina that have made headlines around the country and even the world. Those include the Ocean Isle Beach house fire where seven South Carolina college students died; former Governor Mark Sanford's admittance to an affair while in office; the shooting death of Walter Scott by a North Charleston Police officer during a traffic stop, as well as the horrific shooting deaths of nine people attending Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
The church shooting is a time in my career that I will never forget. As a journalist, we are sometimes insensitive to the stories we are covering, but this one was different. I remember a discussion we had in the newsroom with our news director reminding us that we too are human and it's okay to be hurt, angry or upset.
During my career, I've been honored to have earned several awards through the Associated Press, RTDNAC (Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas) as well as the SCBA (South Carolina Broadcasters Association) Star Awards. Recently, my morning team and I were nominated for a Southeast Emmy for Best Morning Newscast. It's such a huge honor to be recognized by the Academy for our work.
What are you passionate about in your work?
I love the fact that it's my job to inform the viewers about what's going on in their community and letting them know how they can get involved. It's great to know that you are helping viewers plan their day, feel knowledgeable and know they appreciate the work we are doing where they live. I also love getting to work with my group of producers. I get to teach them and help them grow in their careers. I'm all about giving back and I'm grateful that I'm able to do that with my job.
I'm also getting the chance to now give back to the university and college that helped me become the broadcast journalist I am today. I'm now a member of the new Professional Advisory Board for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. I'm looking forward to being involved in what's going on in the J-School and helping students find their passion and reach their goals.
What did you learn while in school at the CIC that still resonates today?
It's our job as journalists to be fair and balanced. I also learned to never give up. You may not get the big story right away, but keep trying all avenues and eventually the story will land right in your lap.
Do you have a favorite professor or a favorite memory from your time at the CIC?
I have many favorite professors at the J-school. Dr. Laura Smith, Rick Peterson, Harvie Nachlinger are on the list, but it's Dick Moore (who's no longer teaching) who really encouraged me to go into this industry. I remember him calling me into him office halfway through my senior semester of Carolina News and he asked "What are you gonna do with your life?" At that time, I had no intention of actually pursuing a job in the journalism field. But it was the conversation that we had that day that changed my mind. The next day I had a interview at WLTX, where I was hired on the spot and started a week later, while still in school. Thanks Dick Moore for believing in me.