In the midst of the television news recruiting crisis, Fox News has been building a talent pipeline with a program called the Fox News Multimedia Reporters (MMR). The two-year program hires early-career journalists to report, shoot, produce, and edit their own original content for Fox News platforms. The current group of MMRs includes nine reporters stationed in key locations throughout the US. Madison Scarpino applied to take part in the program while working at a local news station in Huntsville, Alabama.
“It was so intimidating and draining; it was a very long and tedious process,” said Scarpino about the program’s extensive onboarding. “Once you got the job and your city assignment, though, it was all hands on deck.”
Scarpino, who graduated in 2020 from the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, said she felt prepared for the work, though there was a learning curve.
“It’s very different as far as the types of stories that we have to go out and find and produce,” said Scarpino when asked about the biggest challenges in moving from local to network news. “We have to just find a topic that is newsworthy, what are people talking about right now that everyone around the country would want to hear.”
Joy Addison is a 2018 University of Mississippi grad who is part of the program. She likes the impact she can have by working for a network news operation.
“For me, it gives it a little bit more meaning than when I was local and just working with one community,” said Addison, who is based in Houston. “I think I have a heart for news that touches more people.”
Although the reporters are stationed in different cities around the country, they constantly travel to other locations to make sure they are covering the nation’s biggest stories.
“It’s kind of tough to have that relationship with my city because I travel so much,” said Scarpino, who is based in St. Louis. “But that experience of being able to go to so many different places across the country and meet so many [people from] different cultures and cover so many different stories is honestly incredible.”
Scarpino went on to say that the experience she gained in the seven to eight months she has been an MMR has been the equivalent to five more years of education. Addison says that the program has improved her reporting.
“I learned how to be quick, short to the point, and just tell the facts,” she said. “No matter what the topic is I can go learn about something, stand in front of the camera, and talk about it.
The Fox News MMR program hires five new journalists at a time and plans are to begin accepting new applications in the summer.