Josh Benson always wanted to be in TV News. As a kid he used desks, sheets and lamps to produce newscasts on home video. Twelve years after college and many productions later, Josh is equipped with much better technology at the CBS affiliate in Miami where has been the morning anchor since August 2012. Outside of TV, he stays busy with a web company, a non-profit, a startup and hosts online programs. He also tries to squeeze in occasional rounds of golf.
“There’s never enough time in the day,” Josh says.
But he did find some time for…
SW: Now that you’ve had some time to settle down in Miami since becoming a morning anchor there last August, looking back, what has been your biggest challenge?
JB: Can I have two answers? The schedule and surviving the roads. The schedule is a bear. I wake up at 2:50am and go to bed anywhere in between 8:00-9:00pm. There’s never enough sleep, but I’m working on it. And Miami drivers are from outer space. Speeding is the norm and red lights are just warnings. It’s a long way from my home state of Minnesota. The casual wave has been replaced with the one-finger salute on any given commute.
SW: Why are missing persons cases are so important to you, specifically Jodi Huisentruit, the Iowa news anchor who disappeared in 1995?
JB: The Jodi case was my first opportunity at an in-depth news story. I really worked hard on learning the case and trying to find answers. Back then, the work was for a 13-part Sweeps series. It’s been 11 years since then and I’m still working on it. We’ve created a non-profit and built a talented team around it at FindJodi.com . Some things are hard to let go. And to think about losing a family member without any answers as to why, that’s enough to keep me going. I’d like to see Jodi’s family find closure.
SW: It is important for aspiring broadcast journalists to have a strong presence today on Twitter, Facebook, a website and more. Why is the “online brand” so critical?
JB: A person’s online brand is huge. I look at it as more of a personal brand. Companies have a brand. People should too. Social media and the internet as a whole allows you to reach so many people and reach them quickly. It allows a you to display your talents, background and interests. Employers, interviewees, and strangers will decide if the characteristics of your brand can help or interest them. And they’ll decide quickly. So it’s important to keep your content fresh, current and clean for the biggest impact.
SW: What is the first media credential you saved and the most recent?
JB: The highly-coveted ‘all-access pass’ to the Spam Museum festival in Austin, Minnesota. The most recent was the 99.9 KISS Country Chili Cookoff in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I just realized how much of a gas my career has been. Whoa.
SW: You’re from Minnesota and are a life-long Vikings fan. I’m a life-long Saints fan. The Vikings and Saints have had some heated run-ins over the years, including the epic NFC Championship game in 2009. What is your most vivid memory from that game that kept your beloved team out of Super Bowl XLIV?
JB: In all honesty, it wasn’t the excessive brutality displayed with cheap hits by your players that would eventually unravel ‘BountyGate’ in which your players earned bonuses for inflicting injuries on opposing players… No, that wasn’t it. Hahahah. Bitter? No, the moment I really vividly remember is when Brett Favre threw his last interception. All he had to do was run a few yards, fall down and set up a field goal for the win. Later I realized Favre isn’t a runner. He was bred to throw. So I can’t blame him. Sigh, some day.
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