By Abi­gail Brone, UConn Jour­nal­ism
April 12, 2019

Tom Maroney nev­er planned to work as a jour­nal­ist, he just liked telling sto­ries and using a cam­era to do so. Maroney, a New York native, has worked as a cam­era­man at Fox 61 news for a decade.

As col­lege stu­dents tend to do, I took a left turn. I changed my major and grad­u­at­ed from Itha­ca Col­lege right as the hous­ing cri­sis hit back when Oba­ma took office, and jobs were hard to find.” Maroney said. “At the time, I was work­ing as the pro­duc­tion assis­tant at one of the local TV sta­tions in Bing­ham­ton, New York. Their news direc­tor pulled me into her office and said, ‘Hey, I know you’re grad­u­at­ing in a cou­ple of months. Would you like to work here full-time?’”

After col­lege, Maroney worked his way up through the ranks, begin­ning as a pro­duc­tion assis­tant and even­tu­al­ly find­ing his way behind the cam­era.

I fell in love with cam­era work again. Real­ly, more than cam­era work, the idea of telling a sto­ry visu­al­ly and find­ing cre­ative ways to show peo­ple the world,” Maroney said.

Fox 61 anchor Jim Alt­man vouched for Maroney’s tech­ni­cal abil­i­ties. “Any­thing from a tech­ni­cal aspect he’ll def­i­nite­ly know,” Alt­man said.

Maroney believes print and tele­vi­sion both have their ben­e­fits, but TV allows a lev­el of infor­mal­i­ty and visu­al­iza­tion of which news­pa­pers are not capa­ble.

There are chal­lenges across the board and what it real­ly comes down to is, it isn’t so much which one is hard­er, it’s about respect­ing that they each have a job to do,” Maroney said. “I see print guys in the field all the time, some of them are very good friends of mine. We’re stand­ing next to each oth­er more often than not. We build a work­ing rela­tion­ship.”

While it was not a con­scious choice to work sole­ly behind the cam­era, Maroney said he wouldn’t fare well in front.

[Behind and in front of the cam­era] both have their own chal­lenges. I would say the kind of pres­sure an on air per­son­al­i­ty has would be too much for me to han­dle,” Maroney said.

Maroney said he and Alt­man have cul­ti­vat­ed a strong work­ing rela­tion­ship, col­lab­o­rat­ing often on news pack­ages. Through this, Maroney was able to under­stand and respect what it takes to become a broad­cast jour­nal­ist.

If you’re work­ing in a team, it’s just about com­mu­ni­ca­tion. You got­ta know who you’re work­ing with and have an open con­ver­sa­tion. At some lev­el, to suc­ceed in this busi­ness, there’s a part of you that has to believe, giv­en the same sto­ry as the four oth­er peo­ple in the room, that you’re gonna do the best job. It’s how you’re suc­cess­ful, if you have that self-con­fi­dence to be like ‘I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna make this mine,’” Maroney said.

In the world of fake news, Maroney said he relies on hon­est report­ing and engag­ing with the com­mu­ni­ty to build a rela­tion­ship with his audi­ence.

That term [fake news] has gained such momen­tum because peo­ple believe it, and peo­ple believe it because peo­ple keep say­ing it. There are times where it can be down­right dis­cour­ag­ing, when you’re stand­ing out on a street cor­ner try­ing to do your job in the pour­ing rain and some­body spends time out of their day just to tell you what a ter­ri­ble per­son you are, with­out ever meet­ing you,” Maroney said. “You have to look at your­self and be like, ‘Do I know that what I do mat­ters?’ Words mat­ter. What you say mat­ters.”

His final word of advice on what it means to be a jour­nal­ist in the age of rapid­ly-advanc­ing tech­nol­o­gy and “fake news”?

Every­thing comes back to kar­ma. If you’re a decent human being, that’s gonna show through,” Maroney said.

Top pho­to cour­tesy of Tom Maroney


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April 12, 2019