Consumers of news often despair at the bleak portrayal of life. Broadcast and media production alum Lillian Kashishian (‘19) concedes that there’s a similar effect for the newscaster. “It gets really mentally draining sometimes, especially when you combine it with your own personal life stressors,” she said. “There are some days when you come home and you just lie in bed because it just gets to you.”
Taking that time to decompress from work has become important to Kashishian and other members of the news community, especially within the last year.
“I think just being able to have a short memory is helpful in this industry because you need to be able to detach yourself,” she said. “And I think if you work with a group of people that help lighten the mood, that helps as well. I’m lucky enough to have coworkers that are like that. We’re able to joke around with things and it really lightens the mood so you forget about those dark stories.”
Currently, Kashishian works as a Weekend Newscast Director and Production Assistant at ABC27- WHTM. Her journey with ABC started during her time as an undergrad at Messiah, interning for the company in 2018. As her senior year approached, she applied for and accepted a part-time production position, which later became full-time. Adding onto her role, she began the process of training for newscast director in October 2019. Due to COVID-19, this training ramped up in January 2020, with Kashishian taking on some solo shows after only 30 days of training under her belt.
While at Messiah, Kashishian participated in YBTV. In classes like Electronic Newsgathering, she saw her career unfold. “That class really impacted me, and made me want to go into the news industry even more,” she said.
During undergrad, Kashishian added a psychology double major. She sees these concepts apparent in both her career and everyday life.
“It’s made me think more and be open to more,” she said. “Rather than jumping to conclusions about somebody or something, I’m able to think, ‘Maybe they’re acting this way for a reason.’”
Kashishian has grown immensely since her introduction to broadcasting, expanding her basic skillset and gaining confidence. Especially sitting in the director’s chair, she needs to have short reaction and recovery times when it comes to unprecedented challenges.
“During a newscast, you’ll have breaking news, you’ll have a plethora of changes you don’t necessarily have time to prepare for,” she said. “So, it’s how do you react in those situations? If you make a mistake, which is inevitable — with directing, you’re switching from different sources, and you might accidentally hit the wrong button — how do you recover and not make that mistake again?”
Kashishian holds a penchant for sports broadcasting and production. Since college, she has worked in production with the Hershey Bears hockey team, operating the replay machines, LEDs, and other graphics. In the future, she hopes to continue making the sports side a part of her career. “I do like where I am right now,” she said, “but I’m leaving the door open for any possibilities.”
Kaitlin Merlino ‘23