Chris Coffey knew he wanted to be an on-air news reporter right away. After graduating from Truman State University, he accepted reporting positions in small markets including Austin and Midland, Texas, and Champaign/Urbana, Illinois where he began his passion for investigative and consumer reporting. Coffey co-founded the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooting unit for investigative reporting.
Coffey is passionate for getting to the heart of stories by using data and hard facts to connect with his viewers. He has been successful with his ability to interact with his audience by serving as an advocate for consumers who have been victimized by private businesses. Many of Coffey’s stories highlight government waste and wrongdoing which makes him known as the “Call to Action” reporter.
I learned from Chris Coffey:
- The importance of developing an authentic writing style and voice. You do that by writing and reporting;
- The importance of interacting with your audience by using data analysis and hard facts to uncover truths;
- The importance of figuring out what you want to do early on and going for it (getting a masters in broadcast journalism isn’t what he needed; he needed to just start reporting and getting the experience);
- The importance of maintaining balancing, getting the story and being sensitive when interviewing people with emotional topics/events;
- The importance of being forthright and patient when attempting to access public records or other documentation needed for accurate reporting;
- The importance of not backing down when business/government refuses/stalls with giving information requested, but to remind them of the public’s right to know, your right to report and referring them to the station’s legal team; and,
- The importance of surrounding yourself with a team of experts who are passionate in their respective areas and can help you be an excellent reporter.