Florida News Network’s Deborah Roberts had an uncommon and unusual transition into the broadcast industry. “I left school in Wisconsin and moved to Orlando, where I got a job as an attraction host at Disney World. I eventually won a contest for a part-time job at a station here,” Roberts says. Now 24 years later, one of the things Roberts like most about working in radio is the intimacy of the industry. “Each day is different and gives you the opportunity to connect with your community.”
To prepare for interviews, the first thing Roberts does is familiarize herself with the background information. “I try to find something new, or take a different angle on a topic. Even if it’s a topic I’ve covered before, there is always something new to learn.” As a self-proclaimed news-junkie, Roberts most enjoys reporting any news that people haven’t heard. “You always want to be the one to break the story first. Beyond that, helping people is important. I don’t want people to feel like they are left out in the cold. Knowledge is power and I want to get people the information that they need.”
Roberts loves living in the Orlando area. “We’re tucked right in the middle of the state, you can watch rocket launches and we have unlimited entertainment opportunities.” Roberts recently visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and loved it. “I wanted to move in. I’d like to come back as Hermione Granger because all the news-makers were in Gryffindor.” When she’s not on the air, Roberts enjoys reading romance novels and spending time at museums and art galleries. If she wasn’t in radio, Roberts thinks she would be doing something related to the arts.
If she had the opportunity to interview any U.S. President, it would Abraham Lincoln or George Washington. “I find Lincoln’s era is very akin to ours, and I would like to ask Washington how he came up with the idea for our country.” When it comes to giving advice to young journalists, Roberts says it’s important to “Know your subject matter better than you know yourself. Watch your diction and how you speak.”