Catching Up With:
James Delargy – Master Control Operator, News 12 Long Island
Communications Graduate, Class of 2013
James’ journey towards News 12 began with a switch in majors at Molloy College. He was an education major for three years until he made the decision to switch to communications: media due to always being interested in the news and the behind-the-scenes of how television content is created. James added, “My cousin is a producer down in Washington DC so I had discussed the different positions that would be possible getting a communications degree and all of them interested me.”
Once James switched majors, he was ready to learn all aspects that the industry had to offer. When he started his first communications class, he was interested to see how the courses were structured, along with gaining as much skills as possible. “My goals when I started were to learn anything I could, I wanted to be able to do everything and anything because down the line you never know what you’re going to end up doing, and knowing a variety of skills will eventually end up opening more doors for you along the way”, said James. Once taking the media courses, James found that his favorites were ones pertaining to journalism (Script Writing & Broadcast Journalism) because it offered him opportunities to cover stories that he was interested in. Advanced Video Production was another one of his favorites due to developing his own video projects and having control of how the sound, camera shots, and edited story will look to the viewer.
When James was in his senior year, it was time for an internship in the media industry. He was able to land an internship at News12 Long Island with the title, “Studio Intern”. During his internship, James learned how to work with robotic cameras and how to set up the studio for each of the shows. Responsibilities included moving around the set depending on the show, cleaning, checking/changing the lights before the shows to make sure none of them were dead, and changing batteries/making sure the right microphones were on set for the right shows. When James was able utilize the cameras he learned how the rundowns for each show worked, and what the labels on the rundown meant in terms of camera shots needed for each story. James added, “The robotic cameras at News12 require the camera person to be in control of all 8 cameras that they use throughout the show, that means you have to make sure that they are shaded correctly; not too bright, not too dark, in focus, and on the correct shot that’s needed for the story, whether it be a box for the graphic, or a 2 shot so you can have both anchors in frame.” James mentioned that it was a bit overwhelming in the beginning because you’re constantly changing the cameras while the other ones are in use, but by the end of his internship, he was doing cameras without any issues or help which actually made him feel like he was a real employee.
About halfway thru James’ internship his boss asked if he would be interested in a freelance position, which he quickly accepted. They began to train him in master control, because the freelancer works in both the studio and the master control room. James worked as a freelancer between the end of August to mid-December until he was hired full-time as a master control operator! During a typical work day, he splits his time between monitoring News12 and the Optimum Channel, which is channel 14 on Cablevision. Depending on what is going on that day news-wise or technology-wise there could be a number of things that he can do throughout a shift. When describing his job duties James stated, “As a master control operator we help keep the show on track when it comes to the timing of the shows sections, we are the ones that roll the news sections into commercial breaks, and count back the studio/director/producer back to the live sections of the show.
We also keep track of the commercial breaks to make sure the correct things are airing at the right time. We monitor all of the feeds throughout Long Island to make sure that the channel is not having any problems. When there are problems we have to troubleshoot what the issue is and contact the right department to fix those issues if they aren’t here in our control room.” He also monitors audio and video levels, and double checks to make sure things are spelled correctly whether it be the information bar or in the graphics on the screen being used during the show. When there is breaking news he and the crew are in control of when the studio breaks into the show and help keep the playlist that controls the show on time. That way when he has to go out of the breaking news story, the team knows they have something to go back to, and that the show will time out without any issues. Lastly, James also records and ingests shows onto the server so they can play when needed, and make quick edits in sections so the channel can make real time updates when it comes to things like weather, or ongoing stories.
When asked which communications course has had the most effect on his current career, James points out the skills learned in Advanced Video Production has helped him tremendously. “The studio classes definitely helped when it came to my interning and when I was able to start working with the cameras”, said James. He felt the camera operation and video editing techniques learned here at Molloy College helped him understand what looks good on the screen and what needs to be fixed before it is put out live on the air. He also points out that senior seminar helped him with his research skills that he uses regularly at News12 Long Island.
When asked what advice he would give to a communications student about to take their first media class, James stated it was important to try to take a little bit of everything and don’t get stuck in one path. James added, “If you aren’t sure about what exactly you’d like to do then it would be in your best interest to try out as many options as you can because you never know when you’re going to find something that you enjoy and are passionate about. Learning and getting as much hands on experience you can get would definitely be the most important things.” He also recommended interning as much as possible because it adds a lot more to your resume, students gain contacts and the job may hire you at the end.
James also offered advice to those students who just graduated. He pointed out to try anything and keep interning, if possible. He made a great point in mentioning to learn as much as you can, ask a lot of questions and make connections with the employees at the internship. “Treat that internship like it is your actual job, because you never know who’s watching or listening, and you never know when a job may open up. It’s up to you to put yourself in the forefront and be the one that the position is offered too, because there are plenty of other people behind you who would be willing to take that position”, said James. He wants recent graduates to know that they should not get discouraged when it comes to finding a job straight out of college. James pointed out, “I know plenty of people who took a while to find something, but eventually did.”
With a current full time position at News12 Long Island, James still has goals to go up the ladder in the future. After spending time in the studio, he is interested in directing. He is also interested in producing shows as well. Whichever direction he decides to go in, James is continuing to learn, gain more skills and keep an open mind for the future!