Why WNPR’s Frankie Graziano ’11 looks for the human interest angle in every story 

By Sean Boyle | UConn Jour­nal­ism | April 5, 2019

Grow­ing up, WNPR’s Frankie Graziano always dreamed of cov­er­ing sports and nev­er wavered in his deter­mi­na­tion to become a reporter.

Along the way, Graziano real­ized that his pas­sion for cov­er­ing sport­ing events was root­ed in the per­son­al sto­ries he got to share and the rela­tion­ships forged with sources and lis­ten­ers alike. He was telling human inter­est sto­ries that just hap­pened to take place in the world of sports.

Graziano said he enrolled at UConn look­ing to be exposed to mar­quee events at a Divi­sion I uni­ver­si­ty. After gain­ing valu­able expe­ri­ence through intern­ships and cov­er­ing on-cam­pus news, Graziano grad­u­at­ed in 2011 with degrees in jour­nal­ism and history.

Graziano said he under­stood ear­ly in his career the impor­tance for jour­nal­ists to always be flex­i­ble and will­ing to cov­er any sto­ry, tak­ing on what­ev­er role is nec­es­sary for their edi­tor or pro­duc­ers. Now, he’s assigned to break­ing news for WNPR.

I like to say yes to any job,’’ he said. “You have to be will­ing to do what­ev­er it takes to get a story…I’m kind of super com­pet­i­tive in that way.”

While it may be easy for aspir­ing reporters to get dis­cour­aged by the cur­rent state of the indus­try, it’s impor­tant to keep up that same deter­mi­na­tion and tenac­i­ty. Graziano said too many reporters nowa­days are turned off by the idea of fail­ure. His biggest advice to young jour­nal­ists: don’t be afraid to be embarrassed.

A good way to approach it is you treat every day like a brand-new oppor­tu­ni­ty,” he said. “It’s a good way to for­get about mis­takes and shake off that humil­i­ty that so many of us have.”

Graziano has cov­ered every­thing from the state’s high school tour­na­ments to doing play-by-play com­men­tary and pro­duc­ing con­tent for TV.

No mat­ter the sto­ry, Graziano said he tries to treat each one with the same lev­el of ener­gy and pro­fes­sion­al­ism: whether it requires wear­ing a full black suit to a base­ball dia­mond on a 90-degree day or hav­ing to restrain his fan­dom while cov­er­ing the UConn men’s bas­ket­ball run in the 2011 NCAA tournament.

I do love being in front of the cam­era,” Graziano admit­ted when asked about his favorite role.

Graziano said he enjoys get­ting his per­son­al­i­ty out there for peo­ple to rec­og­nize, allow­ing his audi­ence to estab­lish trust once they see the enthu­si­asm he brings to their story.

In his report­ing for Con­necti­cut Pub­lic Radio, Graziano is always look­ing to tell human sto­ries. He con­sid­ers him­self an “every­man,” one he hopes peo­ple will not only relate with and trust, but also active­ly seek out as their go-to source for news in Connecticut.

Graziano implores young reporters to “stay at it, no mat­ter what.” He said per­se­ver­ance will pay off for deter­mined jour­nal­ists, mak­ing the moment when they ful­fill their dream of telling the right sto­ry that much more rewarding.

Fol­low Frankie Graziano on Twit­ter: @FrankieGrazie6

Top pho­to by Adam Hushin, Con­necti­cut Pub­lic Radio

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