Erin Laviola used the skills she gained at Ohio University and WOUB to start her own business

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Laviola, a broadcast journalism major, graduated in 2011

ATHENS, OH – After following her journalism career to New York City as a producer for a major network, Erin Laviola ‘11 has taken her media knowledge and talents and started her own business.

“I am a freelance writer and video producer,” said Laviola. “I’ve taken the journalism, writing and video skills I learned at Ohio University and WOUB and am producing stories for clients.”

Laviola grew up near Columbus and came to Ohio University in 2007 because she knew about the wonderful reputation of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, and on her campus visit, had a student tour guide who sold her on the opportunities to get hands-on broadcast journalism experience in Athens.

“I knew I wanted to go to Ohio University the second I visited it. The campus was so gorgeous, said Laviola. “Matt Barnes (now a morning anchor at NBC4 TV in Columbus) was my student tour guide and he talked about and showed us all the opportunities there were to do on-air work on campus. Seeing the set up at WOUB, I was super excited about not just sitting in the classroom learning about journalism but actually getting to do it.”

Within the first couple of weeks of school during her freshman year, Laviola started volunteering at WOUB. She worked on the production side running a studio camera for WOUB’s half-hour nightly news broadcast NewsWatch. Laviola worked her way up through the production jobs, running audio, graphics and even technical directing a show once. At the same time, Laviola started working in the WOUB Newsroom, where she wrote stories and anchored and reported for radio and television news, weather, and sports, which included feature stories for WOUB’s high school football program Gridiron Glory. But her favorite role was as the producer of NewsWatch.

Laviola on NewsWatch set in 2011
Laviola getting ready to anchor her final NewsWatch on WOUB in 2011

“I was curious to learn everything, which is why I did so many things at WOUB and doing everything helped me in my career once I went on to produce local and national news. I understood the production team. I understood their job.”

Thanks in part to her work at WOUB, Laviola was offered the prestigious TODAY Show internship during her senior year and enjoyed her time in the Big Apple.

“It was a great experience and gave me a taste of what living and working in television in New York City was like.”

After graduation, Laviola’s first job was as a part-time morning and noon show producer at NBC 4 in Columbus. Less than a year later, a full-time job was offered to her at 10 TV in Columbus and she accepted the role.

“I worked Wednesday through Sunday and was the weekend morning producer,” said Laviola. “I was in charge of the two-hour weekend morning show and in addition to writing and producing the news of the day, I had to book live interview guests to help us fill the two hours.”

Then came Laviola’s big break. In 2014, she was offered a producer position at CBS’s brand-new streaming channel. Laviola knew going to a start up like this was a risk, but the chance to go back to New York City and work for a major network was one she could not pass up.

“It was a leap of faith because when I first moved there the CBS streaming channel hadn’t launched yet,” said Laviola. “But it worked out and I was very proud to have been a part of the team that launched the CBS streaming news channel. CBS News was the first one to create a streaming news service.”

Laviola primarily produced interview segments and really enjoyed her time and experience. But after about three years, she was ready to come home.

“I just decided that the New York City/network news lifestyle was not what I wanted for the long term. I saw the people who were more successful than me at CBS still working 12 hour shifts and still working weekends,” said Laviola. “So, I started looking for public relations and communications jobs in Ohio.”

After working for an online local news startup operation in Columbus for a short time, Laviola started looking for new and different ways to use her writing and video production skills.

“Eventually, I began doing freelance work,” said Laviola.  “A fellow Bobcat helped put me in touch with a company that wrote online blog posts. I did that and my work grew from there.”

Laviola eventually launched Erin Laviola Creative Services and is now working primarily with health care organizations writing blog posts, magazine articles, white papers, and video scripts on various health and medical technology topics. She also still has a foot in the journalism world. Laviola produces a weekly Q&A episode for The NewsWorthy podcast, another client she acquired because of a Bobcat connection.

“I love that I’m still able to write video scripts and do journalism work,” said Laviola.

Even though her career has veered away from television news, Laviola says the professional experience she gained at WOUB gave her the confidence to start her own business.

“WOUB is not a student-show or a student-newspaper. It’s a real professional station. The standards are higher,” said Laviola. “I got comfortable interviewing people. It gave me the opportunity to build confidence and not feel intimidated around people of authority. I really, really feel like that baseline set me up for success for the rest of my career.”