Former Broadcast Reporter, now a Client Associate
I recently spoke with freelance broadcast journalist Nancy Mousa. We discussed a story she produced during her early years in television when she worked for CBS 8 in Alabama.
This piece showcased reactions of people after the governor of Alabama conducted a raid on VictoryLand, a greyhound race track and casino.
According to Mousa, reports were made that there was an electronic bingo operation with the horse track, which the governor stated was illegal.
“VictoryLand said ‘No it’s not gambling we’re just playing bingo’ and the governor disagreed,” she said in her report.
This was not the first time the governor raided the casino. He raided it before Mousa covered the story and the casino was allowed to be reopened. The second raid, which caused VictoryLand to be shut down, occurred when Mousa was working at CBS 8.
When the situation was taken to court, the judge ruled in favor of the governor.
“So what I covered that day was the reaction of people who enjoyed VictoryLand for the bingo aspect of it,” Mousa said.
She spoke with the attorney of VictoryLand and frequent customers who attended the facility.
“I did several stories surrounding VictoryLand but that one in particular was interesting because I talked to people who were coming from Georgia or wherever and all they wanted to do was come and play electronic bingo,” Mousa said. “In their eyes it wasn’t gambling.”
She showed the perspective of people who agreed and disagreed with the governor’s choice to close VictoryLand.
Mousa covered this story for several weeks depending on what the news director wanted to cover. Each week varied depending on if other breaking news occurred.
She faced challenges when producing this piece because it required a live shot for the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. broadcasts.
“The thing is that when you’re doing news and you’ve got that many live shots you have to change the angle each time, so that it is interesting to the viewer,” Mousa said. “They don’t want to hear the same thing repeated three times, so I would take my show at 5 and rewrite it again with a different angle for the 6.”
Mousa did not pitch this idea. CBS 8 was producing this story before she arrived and the director asked her to take over this story when she was hired.
However, she said that she wouldn’t have changed anything about the story because she was happy with the end result of the piece.
“It was one of my first live shots and I think I did a pretty good job with it,” she said.
Mousa advises anyone that is interested in the broadcast field to stay persistent.
“Always give it 110% and don’t quit. Don’t give up because you screwed up… Someone saw the potential in me, so you just have to have faith in yourself and keep going,” she said.
She left CBS 8 and began freelancing for different corporations. She got a job with IMG Sports Marketing covering the University of Georgia’s football team.
However, she left after a year of working for them.
“I got to a point where I had depleted my savings working for them for free for a while, and I started looking at the big picture of life,” Mousa said. “I had nothing for retirement. I loved broadcast, but the money was very low and the opportunity at Merrill Lynch fell in my lap.”
She was offered a finance position. Mousa then decided she would work full time, while freelancing on the side.
“I figured let me give this a shot and see how I do financially,” she said.
Mousa then got to a point where she realized that she didn’t enjoy finance, so she moved to a marketing position at Merrill Lynch working as a Client Associate.
“I really enjoy it. I can still dabble in the freelance stuff on the side. But for me, planning for my future is more important than living in the here and now,” she said.
Mousa said that broadcast is now her hobby. She can provide a steady income for herself, while doing something she enjoys on the side.
“I think I really did give broadcast a solid try, but in this industry you need something consistent that will pay the bills,” she said.
I chose to interview Nancy Mousa because she showed me a reality of broadcast. We often have plans in college of what we want to happen with our careers, but we never truly know what can occur until we give it a try. There is nothing wrong with a “Plan B.”
Emanuela Rendini is a junior at Mercer University. Emanuela interns for WMUB/ESPN3 and plans on being a broadcast reporter after graduating next year.