Today, I spoke to Shira Lazar, who blogs at the The Pop Report, hosts Mahalo’s THIS WEEK IN YOUTUBE, video blogs from around the globe for CondeNast’s pop culture travel guide, Jaunted, and is a journalist on Travel Channel’s upcoming CONFESSIONS OF A TRAVEL WRITER. In this interview, we find out about how Shira broke into the media business, why she thinks tech is important, her top tips for climbing the ladder in the media industry and what her future goals are.
How did you get your first internship at the Ellen DeGeneres Show and how did that experience set you up for success later in life?
I was spending my last semester of Emerson College in Los Angeles. They have a program where you take a few classes and intern for credit. I had always wanted to see the inner workings of a talk show and Ellen was just starting up. I reached out to their Intern Coordinator and got the internship. I happened to have met a producer there who gave me my first gig as an Associate Producer on a morning show in Vegas on the local FOX affiliate. That definitely set up the beginning of my career. I realized I loved production, but a part of me was also missing being in front of the camera. So when I returned to L.A., I began pursuing on-air work full time.
You come from a mainstream media background, yet you’re very active in the tech space. What drew you into tech?
I’ve always loved technology. I’m not a programmer, but I was obsessed with Photoshop in high school and I was the editor of my yearbook, being the first to create it completely digitally. You can also say my career really began on the Internet. When I decided to pursue on-air work full time, the only platform where I was consistently getting jobs was online. There were a ton of websites in L.A. at the time who needed someone to translate their content into video and host as well. I’ve always been inspired by the energy, creativity and innovation of the community. It was a refreshing change from the typical Hollywood scene. People were thinking were having real conversations, were smart, thinking outside of the box, and creating constantly. The possibility of the tech world and using technology to tell stories continues to excite me!
What are your top three tips for climbing the competitive media industry ladder?
- Don’t underestimate working hard. A lot is being at the right place at the right time, but if you can’t deliver it won’t matter.
- Keep challenging yourself and learning more. Always be grateful to have your current gig, but keep reaching for more. Like an athlete, continue to learn and work on your craft. You’re only as good as your last gig.
- Believe in yourself or else no one else will. Don’t expect people to give you your breaks, you have the tools to create them.
What are some of your goals in the next two to five years? Where do you see yourself?
I hope to always reach for new heights and challenges. I want to travel the world, have a daily live interactive show that airs on TV and streams live simultaneously, with complete online engagement. I definitely see myself writing a book, incorporating charity into my work and starting a company at a certain point as well. I look at myself in many ways as a brand, a product. I want to tell stories and represent a respected, entertaining and relevant voice for this community and the millennial movement. And of course- it’s important to be happy and have fun while doing everything!
Shira Lazar has made her name on TV as host of the weekly lifestyle magazine show 1ST LOOK and OPEN HOUSE on NBC, and as a correspondent on Reelz Channel’s daily movie news show DAILIES. You can catch her daily adventures in lifestyle, entertainment and tech on her blog, The Pop Report, where she has partnered with Nokia to lifestream “On The Go” videos uploaded directly from her phone. Shira currently hosts Mahalo’s THIS WEEK IN YOUTUBE, video blogs from around the globe for CondeNast’s pop culture travel guide, Jaunted, and is a journalist on Travel Channel’s upcoming CONFESSIONS OF A TRAVEL WRITER. Shira has also appeared on Fox News Channel, CNN, CBS and MSNBC. She was recently the official video blogger of Internet Week, the red carpet host for the 2009 Webby Awards and was chosen to participate as a social media maven on Ashton Kutcher’s 24 Hours at Sundance. She is a member of American Women in Radio & Television, Women in Technology International, Girls In Tech and can be frequently seen hosting conferences and panels around the country. Shira currently brings you the best in social trends and pop culture on her blog “On The Scene”, as well a contributes to The Tomorrow Show with Mo Rocca for CBSNEWS.COM. Follow her on Twitter @shiralazar.