the perfect recipe for a career in broadcast journalism

by savannah vizzerra

Between studying, tests, networking, and maintaining a semblance of a personal life, Justin Crawford, a student at the University of Tennessee is determined to follow his long time dream of being a broadcast journalist.

Crawford is currently a correspondent for the Fox43 weekend segment, Knoxville Weekend, where he produces local stories about life in Tennessee. His start at Fox began over coffee after a former boss introduced him to the executive director of Raycom Media. “After 34 minutes, over a couple of lattes, she offered me the gig,” said Crawford.

Despite being a student, Fox43 has given Crawford creative leeway to cover aspects of city life in a modern and compelling way that allow Crawford’s vivacity to shine through the camera. “They really showed me that they were willing to help me reach my goals as an on air talent reporter but in return they were also very happy with the content I was producing.” He has produced segments for National Coffee Day and National Cake Decorating Day.

Crawford is a senior at the University of Tennessee Knoxville double majoring in journalism and electronic media with an emphasis on television news reporting and production. Born and raised in Northern Japan, Crawford spent a portion of his youth moving between the US and Asia while his dad served in the air force. After his parents divorced, Crawford and his mom made the move to the US. He attributes his unique and cultural upbringing to a large portion of who he is today. “There's a lot of personal anecdotes to why I work hard, why I go after what I want, and why I don't take no for an answer,” he said.

Aside from Knoxville Weekend, Crawford is also actively involved on campus where he is a peer career advisor at the Center for Career Development; president of Diversity Student Leaders Society; and an ambassador for College of Communication and Information. He has previously interviewed prominent musical figures like the lyrical genius and R&B sensation Somo, along with country star Luke Pell. He founded his own news organization at the University of Tennessee called JUST IN! Entertainment, where he produces and reports his own pop-culture content. In the past, Crawford has also worked with E! News, ESPN, Tegna, the Today Show, ABC and TED.


His extracurricular involvement at school and experience in media have helped him cultivate knowledge about the dynamic field of journalism. Not only has this led to professional growth, but it has led to personal enlightenment. Crawford is grateful for the chance to work on Knoxville Weekend and his advice for students who are building their résumé’s is to be willing to work hard and go the extra mile, even if that means working for free.

“If there's one thing that this position has taught me, it's that you will be rewarded for the hard work that you put in, but you won't see another reward until you keep working. As long as you are kind and hungry, people will want to work with you,” he said.

Given the extremely competitive nature of broadcast, Crawford said that he relies on an optimistic mentality to carry him through times of failure, rejection or even self-doubt. He regularly asks himself what the next move is and believes that asking yourself similar questions can lead to self-growth and a realization that there is a better opportunity awaiting.

When it comes to success, Crawford believes there is no linear path. He will be graduating in spring 2018 and hopes to see himself in a big market, telling stories that will touch people. “As long as my day is different, fulfilling, and I get to meet someone new that inspires me, my dream has come true.”

You can watch the Knoxville Weekend segments ‘National Cake Decorating Day’ here, ‘National Coffee Day’ here, and his interview with Somo here.

For more videos you can subscribe to Crawford’s YouTube account here.