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

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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