Elon Alumnus and CNN Producer Eric Hall Visits Elon Reporting Class and Shares Career Experiences

By Kellye Coleman

Since his senior year in high school, Elon Alumnus Eric Hall has served as an intern or employee at more than seven companies and television networks. In less than 10 years he moved from intern to a producer at one of the top television news networks.

A former “Pendulum” newspaper staff member, Hall’s career has taken many turns since his graduation from Elon in 2005. “I’ve had kind of a crazy path to where I am right now,” Hall said.

Hall’s involvement in news began before he arrived at Elon, completing an internship with the “Charlotte Observer” as a senior in high school. However, it was a month-long internship with ABC’s “The View” that propelled his career.

Just months after graduating from Elon, Hall received a call from the Barbara Walter’s production company telling him of an open production assistant job and asking if he would like to come. Although an amazing opportunity, Hall was unsure.

“Man, there is no way I can do this – New York City, three months, no benefits,” Hall said. However, the death of journalist and news anchor, Peter Jennings, helped him come to his decision. “It was such a big story. I wished I was in the middle of it all.”

“It was such a big story. I wished I was in the middle of it all.”

After his time at “The View,” Hall moved to CNN for a short stint, then to the “Glenn Back Show” on HLN, still serving as a production assisstant.

Things begin to change for Hall when he moved to Shepard Smith’s staff and began working as a booker for “Fox Report”, booking guests and completing pre-interviews with them. “It was the way in, and I did it for a while,” Hall said, but he was looking for more.

During a visit to an Elon journalism class, Hall recommended to students to be aggressive, a tactic that has helped him succeed. After a few months with Shepard Smith, he began pitching ideas to the rest of the staff. “One was a comedy segment, and they liked it,” Hall said. “My first piece aired within four weeks of me starting at Fox.”

Before long, Hall began to become more involved with the show, having the opportunity to write for the 3 p.m. show, to travel with Smith during the 2008 election season, and producing the anchor’s website.

CNN Producer Eric Hall shares the most memorable story of his career thus far:

When New York’s fast-paced environment became too much, Hall moved to Atlanta, Ga. to work for CNN as a producer. He remains there, writing and producing.

Hall provided the class with several tips for success. “One of the biggest tips I can give you – know how to write,” Hall said. Whether writing an email or a story, writing well has proved to be essential for Hall.

He has also found that an ability to work creatively is important. “In this industry, you have to think outside of the box to survive,” Hall said. “The game changes every day.”

All of Hall’s jobs have been the result of networking and getting to know individuals in the fast-paced industry, one of his final suggestions for students. “From my experience, it doesn’t work like it used to,” Hall said. “It’s all about opportunity, luck and timing. But mostly it’s all about hard work.”

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One thought on “Elon Alumnus and CNN Producer Eric Hall Visits Elon Reporting Class and Shares Career Experiences

  1. Great work on this, Kellye! Your headline has a lot of SEO details, and your lead is strong. You were smart enough to look at the big picture and sum up a point of value to share with your audience in the lead. You could make it stronger by mentioning in the lead he moved in 10 years from being a lowly intern at the Kannapolis Intimidators minor league baseball team to…

    Note that in AP style we use numerals for 10 and up, so in the lead it should be 10 and not ten. Technically, there’s no show called “Barbara Walters Special” – Walters has a production crew that produces several specials each year for ABC, several one-hour interview shows with stars or other famous folks. So you will want to edit so it does not appear that there’s a program called that.

    You need to get a photo of Eric Hall right up at the top of your layout, just under the headline, with the lead wrapping around it. If you can’t pull a good still frame from your video of a head-and-shoulders of Hall, then you should ask permission to use a classmate’s still photo and just give him/her photo credit. No need to use one of those full-length photos with the entire front of the classroom. Readers prefer a good head-and-shoulders shot to a big photo that lacks useful details.

    A promising story. If you want to see an all-out reporting piece on this that has more specific details that could be inspiring for your future work, check out the WordPress Reporting blogs by Jack Dodson and Caitlin O’Donnell. Nobody’s perfect, but they really show a lot of attention to reporting details in their takes on this same piece, and you can learn from them!

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