Sydney Lutz ‘14 hired as producer at LEX18

Posted by Centre News in Alumni, News 30 May 2014

When Sydney Lutz ’14 didn’t hear back from WLEX-TV after inquiring about internship options for Centre Term of her sophomore year, she took matters into her own hands.

“One day I was in Lexington,” says Lutz, “and I decided I was just going to go there.” She met the assignment manager for the channel’s LEX18 News programming and was hired as an intern on the spot. “News is a crazy business,” she says. “I had to make things happen for myself. Persistence and hard work pay off.”
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Lutz, who grew up in Lexington watching WLEX-TV, began her internship in January 2013 during CentreTerm. She worked nearly 40 hours per week, shadowing and learning the news business from the ground up.

After her internship was finished, Lutz was hired by LEX18 as weekend assignment manager. She worked from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays identifying news stories, answering phones, writing stories for their website and contributing to the station’s social media pages.

Late last year, officials at LEX18 made the decision to launch a Sunrise Weekend news program in 2014, and Lutz interviewed to take on the job of producer.

“My ambition is to do on-air work,” says Lutz, “but I said ‘why not?’” She was offered the job, which was kept part time through her graduation this week. Combining the rigorous position with a full course load at Centre and her role as captain of the college’s cheerleading team required time management skills and many late nights.

“I’ve had to juggle a lot,” says Lutz. LEX18’s Sunrise Weekend program began on Jan. 4 and includes shows at 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Saturdays and at 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Sundays. Lutz works all night prior to the shows, listening to police scanners and deciding what stories will air and in what order. She writes the local stories, while national and international stories are pulled from NBC sources (WLEX-TV is an NBC affiliate).
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When the weekend shows air, Lutz sits in the control booth and makes sure that the timing of the program goes smoothly. She stays in touch with the anchor, meteorologist, reporters and photographers to ensure proper flow from story to story.

Lutz’ hard work during her senior year paid off. She has been offered the job of producer for LEX18’s Sunrise Weekday news program, a position she will soon begin. “It’s one of the largest shows the station airs, making it a challenge,” says Lutz. “But I’m ready.”

It may come as a surprise that Lutz graduated this year with a major in Spanish and a minor in government. Centre does not have a program in broadcast journalism, and as a high school student Lutz considered other colleges with better offerings in her area of interest. In the end, her desire for a small school experience and personal attention from professors brought her to Centre.

“People think that if you go to a school like Centre that doesn’t have your program, you’re shut out from some things you might want to do in the future,” says Lutz. “But with internships and the willingness to get out there and make your way, you can basically do anything you want.”

by Caitlan Cole and Laurie Pierce