Missouri State University
Leonard Horton

Leonard Horton

  • Instructor

Teaching students to perform under pressure

Instructor Leonard Horton brings the fast pace of TV news into the classroom. 

Journalism students get real-world producing opportunities through Ozarks News Brief, a live broadcast based on instructor Leonard Horton’s experiences working in television news.

“It’s very deadline driven,” Horton says. “Students go out and film the stories. We have anchors, producers and technical people in the control room – everything like a live local news broadcast.” 

Real-world experience

Students who work on Ozarks News Brief learn to perform under pressure, taking their stories from conception to distribution in just one or two days.

“I want their degree to place them where they said they wanted to be."

“If you really want to do this professionally,” Horton says, “you have to learn these skills.” And many recent graduates are making good on this bargain, finding jobs in newsrooms all over the country.

“In order to work in these markets right out of college, you must demonstrate a certain maturity, skill level and character,” Horton says, “and I work to prepare students for that. I talk about everything from contracts to professional dress.”

The purpose, he says, is to support students in their professional goals. “I want their degree to place them where they said they wanted to be when they came here. If they said they wanted to be on ESPN, I took their word for it. If they said they wanted to be an anchor, I took their word for it. And I want that for them because their success is my success.”

Horton encourages students to take ownership of all aspects of their careers, including practical business considerations. “Many stations are moving to a freelance model, where reporters work as sub-contractors,” he says. “Students need to know how to be entrepreneurial.”