By Olivia Parker
Meredith Parker is an alumna of Mount St. Mary Academy, class of 2007. Today, ten years later, Meredith is 28 years old and working as a Senior Graphics Operator at two local news stations. Meredith was the twelfth of fourteen girls in her family to attend Mount St. Mary Academy. Over the past ten years, Meredith has pursued a career in news production through graphic design and simultaneously widened her perspective of her city and grown more confident in herself.
While in high-school, Meredith did not think of pursuing graphic design as a career, but instead was more focused on a music career. She gravitated towards more creative classes at Mount, like art and music. After high school, she attended University of Central Arkansas and decided to try out the film program. Throughout college, she started to focus less on music and more on film, photography, and graphic design. Although Mount did not offer a Broadcasting or Graphic Design class when she attended, Meredith recalled that Art and Concert Belles both fed her creativity and enhanced her artistic abilities in college. She ended up graduating UCA with a major in Digital Filmmaking and a minor in Photography and Graphic Design.
Meredith has been working at the local news stations, KARK 4 News and Fox 16 News, both owned by Nexstar Media Group Inc., for six years. She mentioned that she “still felt prepared because of my degree, even if it wasn’t in Broadcasting”. She started off in basic production by operating cameras, working the teleprompter, and operating graphics. As years went by, she transitioned to full-time Graphics Operator and now creates graphics for the show and controls them during shows. Meredith even gets the occasional graphics request from reporter friends at other stations across the country.
Working at a news station as a graphics operator is a unique job that most young students don’t think about when choosing a career. When asked for one reason why she loves her job, Meredith told us that “we get to put on a show everyday.” Even though it is the same news show, the content is always different and this keeps each day exciting and unique. During the show, Meredith sits in the control room and helps put on the show that you see on your television. With the help of the audio man, director, teleprompter, and the producer, the show is called, graphics are cued, and the teleprompter is run to ensure that the show goes smoothly every time. News stations are always buzzing with activity and on the lookout for breaking news and severe weather. Whether it’s creating graphics, listening to police scanners, finding a story, or filming a show, the world of news never stops.
Between the two stations there are several airings of newscasts, two sports shows, and a political show. With all these programs, the news is constantly on air. Two stations in the same studio is actually “quite common in the news world today.” Making sure the shows have different looks and styles is key when creating graphics. The sets of the two shows are very different from each other and are further distinguished by their graphics. Meredith said that starting off just working for Fox 16 part-time, then merging with KARK 4 caused “double the work, but helped me grow and improved my abilities.” Her hard work and growth was acknowledged when she was voted Employee of the Month twice and the first Employee of the Year by her coworkers and superiors. Working at a news station in the control room requires you to “be flexible…the show must go on,” especially when technical difficulties occur.
Aside from graphic design Meredith also utilizes her photography minor by maintaining photography as a hobby. She loves to check out the latest camera technology and graphics programming to keep herself up to date on advancements in the field. Recently, she has photographed weddings for friends, taken family photos, and even some senior pictures.
One of the many things she likes about graphics is that “you are never satisfied,” it is always improving and there are endless possibilities. This is a growing career path with endless job opportunities.
From an interest in a music career to a job in graphic design, this just goes to show that “ sometimes your career will take you to places you wouldn’t have ever thought of going.”