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Meet Elena LaQuatra '14

Job Title & Employer
Noon Anchor, Weekday Traffic Reporter, WTAE-TV
Major
Broadcast Reporting
Hometown
Mt. Lebanon, Pa.
High School
Mt. Lebanon High School
Hobbies & Interests

Eating my way through Pittsburgh with my fiancé, wedding planning, spending time with family, walking our Chihuahuas, traveling and sleeping (I wake up at 1:30 a.m. after all). Additionally, I mentor young girls and teenagers, serve as an advocate for those living with disabilities (primarily hearing loss) and as a board member for the DePaul School for Hearing and Speech.

"Point Park was the perfect university for my broadcasting path. Apart from the class choices, smaller, more intimate setting and new, beautiful facilities, the opportunities I had at Point Park were instrumental while starting my career. With campus being in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, I was able to spend time shadowing several local journalists and with the help of my professors, I secured internships with two of the news stations while completing my classes."

Elena LaQuatra '14

You were recently named WTAE-TV’s new noon anchor and weekday traffic reporter. Tell us about your key responsibilities in these roles.

I've worked in the news industry for five years and can truly say that I've never had a boring day on the job. It's something different every single day, and that's what keeps it so interesting.

As the traffic reporter, I'm keeping an eye on the roads throughout our region for our morning commuters. Best case scenario, there are few accidents, no severe weather conditions and construction projects aren't causing any issues. However, when the Parkway East is shut down due to a tractor-trailer rollover, the bridge you take each morning gets blocked off for a month-long construction project and you have a 10-mile detour or overnight snow is making that morning drive extra tricky, I'm your girl! I'll give you real-time updates on roads throughout the region, a heads-up about construction projects, and even a live look over the roads from our cameras across the region and our helicopter, Sky4.

As the noon anchor, I'm delivering the midday news to our viewers. There's always a lot happening around that time, both locally and nationally, and I'll provide you with all those updates. I especially love the positive stories we share in our noon newscast.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Specifically, at WTAE, I love the people I work with each day. We have such a wonderful team. My colleagues are more than people I work with, they are truly my friends who I spend time with outside of work.

As far as what I enjoy most about the career, connecting with our viewers is incredibly fulfilling. There's something about Pittsburgh and the people here that make this city so special — granted, this is coming from a girl born and raised in Pittsburgh! The viewers I interact with — whether it's through my charitable work, while I'm out on stories or over social media — feel like real friends of mine. It makes the work I do so enjoyable knowing my "friends" are on the other side of the camera trusting our team for their news, weather and traffic updates.

In what ways did Point Park’s B.A. in broadcast reporting program prepare you for your career?

Point Park was the perfect university for my broadcasting path. Apart from the class choices, smaller, more intimate setting and new, beautiful facilities, the opportunities I had at Point Park were instrumental while starting my career.

With campus being in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, I was able to spend time shadowing several local journalists and with the help of my professors, I secured internships with two of the news stations while completing my classes.

Additionally, the professors I had — both full-time and part-time — were tremendous. It's so funny to think about it now, but our morning anchor Michelle Wright, who I work alongside every day, was one of my professors! It's a true honor to say I learned from her more than a decade ago while I was in college!

What advice do you have for a prospective student interested in broadcast journalism?

Just as I mentioned above — take advantage of all opportunities. There are many skills that journalists must possess to succeed in this industry — confidence on camera and in approaching strangers, ability to work quickly, flexibility, strong listening and speaking skills, a knack for writing and storytelling, etc. However, in this industry you can have all these skills, but without real-world experience and connections, it'll be difficult to get far.

Take advantage of all internship opportunities. Shadow anybody who is willing to let you tag along for the day. Stay in contact with those people you meet who are working in the industry — and not just reporters and anchors, but also producers, news directors, the web team, etc. Ask for feedback on your demo reel that you update regularly. It's those things that will get you far.


More About: alumni, journalism, School of Communication, broadcast reporting, success story, Mt. Lebanon High School