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‘You can make it in this business’ Mike Lyle, NABJ, award winning journalist tells us the secret to media success

One Connecticut radio personality takes the phrase ‘giving back’ to another level after contributing to numerous journalism programs across the country.

Mike Lyle, a radio anchor at WTIC 1080 and instructor at Quinnipiac University is well known on social media for his inspiring posts, #newsjunkie tweets and most of all his support for upcoming journalists. He’s wrapping up his first semester as an Adjunct Instructor at QU, teaching a graduate level journalism course titled “Sports Literature.”

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Lyle, originally from New Jersey has over 10,000 followers on social media combined. He’s noted for being available for students and veterans who need his advice. So, how does Lyle maintain his influence in media? LookWeAreIncluded.com wanted to know the ‘secret’ to having a long-lasting career in this industry.

So many people say: If you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life. But what about when you’re tired or adversity arises? How do you cope with that? Well, first you have to remember why you started and we wanted to know how did Lyle begin his career.

So, we talked to him a little more about how his journey, advice for upcoming journalists and how he maintains his continual fire for reporting.

With over 20 years of experience in media, Lyle developed his niche for sports after getting the chance to write for his high school newspaper during his junior year.

“I envisioned myself covering some of the world’s biggest sporting events like Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, March Madness, etc. Since then, it has been quite the journey,” Lyle told LookWeAreIncluded.com

A graduate of “The Mecca”, also known as Howard University, as Lyle refereed to it. Played an important role during his early career! “[Howard] Certainly played a huge role in my media growth. First, it allowed me to experience the HBCU (Historically Black College and University) lifestyle, which is why attending and graduating from Howard was one of the best career decisions I made. It also allowed me to experience what it meant to work in a major media market like Washington, D.C. So many outlets and tons of opportunities to learn from some of the very best in the business,” Lyle told us.

 

Early Career Internship Layout: How did you get started with radio? 

” ..It was internships at WTOP Radio, WRC-TV (NBC Washington), The Washington Times, WHUT-TV and The Hilltop (Howard’s campus newspaper) helped mold me into the media professional that I am today. Looking back, I am forever grateful for those opportunities and the countless staff members whom I worked with that taught me much of what I needed to know before entering the workforce after graduation in 2OO3,” Lyle said.

So- What’s the secret, fellow readers? You have to keep reading! 

Q: What do upcoming journalists need to focus in this climate? So, many people are nailing internships, but what about actual jobs? 

Lyle: Today’s upcoming journalists need to focus on being more aggressive and proactive in their approach in getting experience. That foundation has to be established in their collegiate studies because they are granted the resources and the right personnel that can show them what needs to be done so they have a resume and background of work that will make the job search a bit easier. Internships are a critical component of the process, but there’s more to just doing what that internship entails. In this day and age, you have to be a “jack of all trades” if you will. Learn about what goes on behind-the-scenes, take notes on how to be a reliable journalist in all areas. That includes producing, editing, speaking, reporting, anchoring, technical operations, and the most important: writing. Yes, we are dealing with a highly-competitive field where countless folks are applying for that high-profile lucrative gig. But if you have a resume and a bevy of work that can give off that “Wow” impression to a hiring manager or News/Program Director, [which] will increase your chances of landing that position.

Q: What’s been some ups and downs you really don’t tell people? How do you keep going when it gets rough? 

Lyle: Without question, I’ve dealt with adversity and setbacks in my lifetime — personally and professionally. In fact, I’ve had folks who told me early in my career that I was not a good fit to be a writer or I wasn’t as good enough to handle the tasks of what was expected of me in journalism. In life, we are all challenged daily to do our very best and survive through the toughest of times and deal with our biggest critics — or haters. But personally, such experiences allowed me to grow stronger through perseverance and not giving up on my passion.

Lyle’s award list is long! We asked Lyle with so many accomplishments in 2019, what are your top 5 for this year?  

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Lyle: It has been quite a 2O19 calendar year with lots of notable accomplishments for certain. As such, I would say the Top 5 moments were:

  • Taking up my current role at New England Public Radio.
  • Being offered the opportunity to return to my other alma mater of Quinnipiac University as an Adjunct Instructor,
  • Crossing off one of two “bucket list” items in covering the first two rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in my backyard of Hartford, CT (aka “March Madness”)
  • Being selected to serve as a mentor for a third consecutive year in the NABJ Student Multimedia Project
  • Crossing off another “bucket list” item in covering the Connecticut Sun’s postseason run in what was a memorable WNBA Finals.

Q: How did you develop your radio voice? 

Lyle: It’s funny because for years, many folks have said I had this deep voice that could be developed into a media broadcast voice. It’s something that happened simply through practice and consistently working on my craft to make this voice flourish. When I was younger, I would listen to the radio to hear how News Anchors and Reporters went about their assignments. Studying them allowed me to work on my voice and diction for the business. The rest, as they say, is history.

Q: Why do you give back?

Lyle: I’ve always lived by the biblical concept of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  The passion, eagerness and enthusiasm for the work I’m doing now has made it so I can help young professionals who share in those same aspirations, notably through the National Association of Black Journalists. They need the guidance and support from those who have survived and have a good understanding of this industry. Plus, you want to present them with the same opportunities I was given. Of course, the hope is that they take what they have learned and use it to their advantage, while passing the baton onto the next wave of young professionals who need something or someone to be inspired by.

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Now what is the secret!

Lyle: My secret is simple: survive and excel. Try to stay in the business as best as possible and keep your options open. Challenges and setbacks will occur.  Its how you handle them that will determine how far you will go and how long you will last.

Finally, what’s the legacy you want to leave? Because your name and actions will be remembered.

Lyle: If anything, I want to be remembered as the man that would go above and beyond the call of duty to help those in need, and never looking for anything in return. The one that would do more than just what a mentor does in supporting them in other ways. That is what giving back is all about. Making it so that others who were not as fortunate could turn to someone for the guidance and assistance they sought so they could be successful in their future endeavors. That is the greatest reward in seeing that they took a chance on me and in the grand scheme of things, it proved to be a chance worth taking.