Korey O’Brien, Words of Wisdom from an Emmy Award Winning-PSU Alumni

By: Emily Allen, For the Clock


Korey O’Brien, PSU Alumni class of 2012, shared his experience with students this past week of how he earned his position as Morning Executive Producer for the 7 News Channel in Boston, MA. He went on to study at Emerson College to get his graduate degree. Korey studied as a Communication major and is an inspiration to those pursing a Communication major or minor. He left PSU with a good education but was still unsure what he wanted to do. That is when he decided to go to Emerson to get his graduate’s degree. After he graduated, he got a job at a news station in Arizona where he worked for nine months until he was offered a job at 7 News, where he has been working his way up the ladder ever since.

He is a grateful Emmy Award winner yet when asked if he was striving for an Emmy, he said no. He said that the entire crew all work as hard as possible to make a flawless show, but it is about sharing the news, not because they want an award. He said the reason they received one was because they poured their lives into the production of the news channel and the award is product of them doing an excellent job. As the executive producer of the morning news, he shared that he is always looking for a challenge. Receiving an Emmy has created another challenge for him to strive after to make things even better.

Korey shared what makes a good show and how things change very rapidly, especially if there is a breaking news story. He said that there is a saying the industry that goes, “you should not be married to your rundown.” When breaking news pops up, it changes everything, and the original plan goes out the window. It is a job that requires flexibility and ability to adapt to any situation. Korey said it is always a challenge, but that is the way he grows and makes himself better. He made it clear that when things become stagnate that he will move on to the next thing so he will continuously be challenged.

When Korey was asked how Plymouth State prepared him for his position now, he said, “PSU was the foundation for everything that I do now.” He also said that, “he remembers and uses the things that he was taught in specific classes here at the school.” He said that the further away you move when you receive your first assignment, the more motivated and faster you will be to move back to the bigger companies. He encourages future Communications majors and minors to make solid connections. Take several, not just one, internship(s) from many different places. A good way to build connections is to tell everyone you meet what you do because most likely someone will know someone who could help you get a job. He advised when looking for ajob, go to the source of the job instead of dealing with HR, Human Resources, and the loops that you will have to endure when doing it that way. He also shared that you need to be very forward and advocate for yourself. He was asked how he made his way to the position of executive producer and his response stuck out the most. He said, “that it took a lot of hard work, consistency, proving your worth, and asking for the open jobs, even if you don’t think you will receive it.”

His advice for upcoming students, who are interested in media and/or journalism, is to getinvolved. Write for the local newspaper or news companies and do the job of a journalist even when you don’t have the job yet. Show the confidence to do the job and write well. He made it clear that you might think you are a good writer, but you can always be better, so continue to improve your skills and continue to learn as much as possible. While at PSU, he said to “be involved, be connected, and learn all you can because there is so much offered.” He also encouraged students to learn all they can about different software and tools that are used in media production and writing. Korey’s closing words were that he “wouldn’t redo anything in his path to where he is now and that he is very happy with where he is and how things have turned out.”

Link of recorded Zoom session: