Tammie Fields conquers the journalism field


Photo provided by: Katie Turkelson

Journalism students stand around Tammie Fields’s table on Feb. 4 as she shows them forms of media she has worked on. “I went back and got my masters in digital journalism from the University of South Florida, because I started in film,” Fields said. “Now, this is our chief photographer, he shoots on a little tiny disk. That’s how much it has changed since and evolved.”

Faith Shimick and Avery Ranum

On Feb. 4, Spectrum News 13 anchor Tammie Fields visited campus to share her experience in the career field with students to kick off Black Student Union’s (BSU’s) celebration of Black History Month. BSU’s celebration features African-American experts in various fields making appearances during lunch every Friday during February to teach interested students about their lives and accomplishments.

While Fields was available to share her knowledge with everyone, the journalism students in particular learned a lot. Fields provided the students with new insights on interviewing. 

“Talking to Ms. Fields really helped understand what it’s like to begin in the journalism industry and what you can expect to deal with when you’re first starting out,” sophomore Annaliese Long said. “Her perspective was really interesting because she pretty much started from the bottom when it came to that.”

“There is a skill to interviewing, sometimes you ask long questions, ask the question and stop,” Fields said. “Don’t fill in the space. Let them talk. That’s how you get the best sound.”

While her specialty was initially film, Fields knows how to work every angle of a story, both on and off camera.

“I got to college, I had my very first internship and my boss told me, ‘learn everything you can about that [the camera]’,” Fields said. “‘Don’t worry about being on TV. Know how to shoot, write and edit by yourself. Without any guide, without any other person helping you, because if you know how to do all of those things, you will always have a career. You will be able to make sure you look the best and be able to make sure that your storytelling skills are on point. You can’t do it if you don’t know how to shoot. You can’t do it if you don’t know how to interview.”

After she elevated and perfected her skills, Fields looked for higher-level jobs over entry-level ones. As with every career, there will be naysayers.

“I can remember sending one of these tapes that said ‘Tammie’s Resume,’” Fields said.  “I sent this tape to someone and she said ‘You know what? I like the content, I like what you’re doing, looks good, but there’s one thing about it– I don’t like your hair. I don’t like your hair.’ That’s how she ended it. ‘I don’t like your hair.’ And I said ‘Thank you for your time, I really appreciate it.’ I got a job in that market, in Tallahassee, she worked at the competition and I completely stomped them like a roach whenever I had an opportunity to. That’s what you do when people say ‘I don’t think you’re good enough to be in this business.’ You don’t say ‘Oh, I guess I have to go find something else,’ you don’t give in.”

Even if camerawork takes some getting used to and the industry is unrelenting and hard, Fields advises those interested to stick with it.

“I only have one piece of advice, and that would be simply: If you want to do it, don’t give up, no matter what,” Fields said.