Hannah Strong, Broadcast Meteorologist

Hannah Strong, Broadcast Meteorologist

Please include details about your educational background and what sparked your interest in atmospheric or related sciences.  

B.S. in Geosciences with Communication Minor and concentrations in Professional and Broadcast Meteorology

What was your first job in the field and how did you end up in the job you are in now?   

My first job was Weekend Evening Meteorologist at WANE-TV in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Several coworkers from there took jobs at WDRB in Louisville, Kentucky, and suggested I apply for a meteorologist opening.

What opportunities did you pursue that you knew would be beneficial to securing a job in the profession?    

Internships and job shadowing

What other courses/skills beyond the required math and science courses do you think would be the most helpful to individuals wanting a career in your profession?    

Communication courses. Public speaking and writing for electronic media classes have proven to be the most helpful in my career.

What is your typical day on the job like?

In a typical day I come into work and start making the forecast. I look at how we performed in the last few days, model data, records, the previous forecast, etc. Then I begin making graphics for the TV show. Throughout the shift I will tape teases and videos for social media. I will also look for good graphics or weather info to post to social media throughout the day. I write a blog post for the website and update the forecast for the website and app in addition to other digital responsibilities that come up. If weather warrants, I will do a Facebook Live video to share some of the science behind the forecast that I don't have time to talk about on TV. Then I will do the hour long TV show to share the forecast and changing weather patterns.

What do you like most about your job? What is the most challenging thing about your job?    

What I like most about my job is the fact that it's different every day. Weather is constantly changing, so how we communicate must also change. The forecast will always challenge me and teach me something new. The most challenging part of my job is to get it right and to communicate in a way that everyone will understand.

Does your job allow for a good work/life balance? If not, why?     

Yes, my workplace recognizes we are more than cogs in the wheel of work. They allow us time and space to be someone's spouse/child/parent/friend, etc. Valuing us as people not as product makes us want to work harder for the people who respect us and treat us well.

Over the course of your career what is the most exciting thing that has happened to you?     

There are two things that stick out as the most exciting in my career. One is giving a presentation at the NWA Annual Meeting about social media and all the opportunities on social media that brought. The other is covering a tornado outbreak through Indiana and Ohio on TV and online.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently in your career?    

At my first job, I would not have signed a contract longer than two years. Your first job will usually be a stepping stone to where you want to be, not your forever home. Two years is a good amount of time to learn, but too much longer than that in small-market television can slow down your career growth.

What are some ‘must haves’’ on a resume if a person wants to gain employment in your field?     

Experience, whether paid or unpaid. Take internships or many job shadow opportunities so you know what is expected in the work.
Commitment in jobs. If you bounce between jobs every couple months, that sends red flags. You need to spend a year or two at the same place to establish trust and connection with viewers and to begin to understand local variations in weather.