(December 22, 2015) Derek Wattay has considerable sports reporting experience, but has yet to be employed at a TV station. That is about to change. An STAA member, Wattay is joining WAOW-TV in Wausau, WI as a sports multi-media journalist.
Wattay moves to Wisconsin from Baltimore, MD where he has worked since 2013 as a sports reporter and producer for PressBox Media. He is a 2014 graduate of nearby Towson University.
“What sports fan wouldn’t love covering the NFL, MLB and NBA,” asks Wattay with a smile. “It’s just a phenomenal foot-in-the-door for me in a real newsroom. While I’d had plenty of experience reporting and producing TV in Baltimore for PressBox, it wasn’t quite the traditional newsroom experience that I needed to grow and advance my career. The opportunity at WAOW is going to be one that really allows me to hone and polish my skills as a talent.”
Wattay initially applied for the WAOW position last spring after learning about it through STAA. He never heard back, so when the job posted again in November, he was reluctant to re-apply. “I had significantly tweaked my resume and gotten some way better material for my demo, so eventually I figured, why not? Per STAA’s formula, I followed up two or three days later. About a week or so after that, I received a call from WAOW’s outgoing news director.”
A native of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Wattay admits to some trepidation about leaving his home state. “I had always said I’d be willing to move anywhere, as moving around is pretty much a requisite in this business, but it’s always hypothetical until an opportunity presents itself and suddenly it’s a real possibility.
“There were some other difficult circumstances that ultimately lead to my accepting the gig, but sometimes it’s those difficulties in life that provide you with just the perspective you need to push past your uncertainties and do what needs to be done.”
Wattay has been an STAA member since April.
“I can’t thank STAA enough for all the career aid it’s given me. [Jon Chelesnik] has been so accessible and full of wisdom. All the online content really helped me with all my materials — it was invaluable guidance.
“I can’t wait to lend my skills and experience to WAOW, nor can I wait to learn all WAOW will have to teach me.”
(Visit Derek’s STAA Talent Page).