Kentucky State University’s (KSU) Broadcast Announcing students were excited to get “the 411” on March 7 from WHAS-11 News Assignment Editor Sherlene Shanklin. Shanklin was a part of Academic Technology Trainer Jennifer Miles’ weekly “‘Journalism Speaker Series hosted by Professor Miles.” Miles invites a variety of professional journalists to visit with communications majors to provide their real-world experience.
Shanklin graduated from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with a Bachelor of Arts in communications and broadcasting with a minor in fashion design. After receiving her degree, she worked as an assistant manager for Brooks, a retail fashion chain. While she worked at Brooks, Shanklin still sought to enter television broadcasting.
“I was young when I knew I wanted to become a journalist, but I had no idea where to start. I had no idea what I should do to start my career in journalism,” she said.
Shanklin landed an interview with Louisville’s WAVE-TV, an NBC affiliate where she worked as a part-time associate director for nine years. Shanklin desired a bigger challenge and moved to a competing station in Louisville where she became a producer at ABC affiliate WHAS-11. She later moved to the assignment desk at the TV station. Shanklin is also seen in front of the camera as she delivers “The411” in entertainment news to viewers in the Kentuckiana area.
“I love how no day is the same,” Shanklin said. “It’s always changing, and I have to be ready to shift gears. I love figuring out puzzles/mysteries in a story and getting to the bottom of it. I love the opportunities I get to meet some of the world’s most influential people.”
Shanklin urged the students to learn a wide range journalism skills to remain competitive in broadcasting.
“You need to be a multimedia journalist that can handle different mediums and positions,” she said. “Remember not to get discouraged if you don’t get a job immediately out of college because many don’t, but keep trying.”
Shanklin has visited KSU several times in the past years, but it was her first time visiting the campus as a professional.
“I love the beautiful campus. I enjoyed walking around and taking it in even on a rainy day,” she said. “Students were courteous and spoke when I walked by.”
KSU senior Kayla Hutchinson, a broadcasting major, was tuned into Shanklin’s words of wisdom. Hutchinson said she was impressed that Shanklin also juggled her own business as a publicist and a full-time job at the television station.
“She was very humble about everything she has done in her life,” Hutchinson said. “She has her own business and a full-time job. She kept her sanity, and I think that’s really cool and shows her work ethic.”
The broadcast students hope to form a partnership with Shanklin and were very inspired by her sage advice. She concluded her lecture by reminding students to maintain their journalistic integrity and remain fair in reporting.
“Have a thick skin. Listen to the words and not the tone,” she said. “Follow your dreams. The only person who can stop you is you. Believe in you!”
— Alea Cardenas