December 15, 2010 | Borough of Manhattan Community College
In the years before he even thought of enrolling in college, BMCC alum Daryl Frederick was a working actor. “I had minor roles in a few movies and TV shows—not many, but enough to get me into the Screen Actors Guild,” he says.
Meanwhile, Frederick was becoming increasingly curious “about what was happening on the other side of the camera.”
So he enrolled in BMCC, where he majored in video arts technology and decided that his future lay in broadcasting—as a news reporter, perhaps, or TV show host.
The question was: How would he get his foot in the door?
Making contacts—and following up
In his final semester, Frederick attended a broadcast industry job fair. “I was surprised at how many media companies had set up booths—everyone from small local TV stations to major networks,” he says. But his excitement flagged when he realized that the only positions available were for unpaid interns. What Frederick needed was a job.
There was one person at the fair held out hope—a representative from Fox Channel 5 who suggested that Frederick contact her the following year. “I kept her business card in my back pocket,” he says, “and, early in 2010, I e-mailed and called her repeatedly until I was brought in for an interview.” He started at Fox last March.
“I was assigned to Good Day New York, which meant setting my alarm for 1:30 a.m. each day in order to get to the studio by 4,” he says. His duties included readying scripts for the news anchors, orienting college interns and overseeing green room accommodations for celebrity guests. “I met them all—politicians, sports figures, entertainers,” says Frederick. “But what I really wanted was to get on the air.”
Indeed, that had been his goal from the day he walked into Fox, and he made no secret of it. A month after he started, he got his first assignment. He was sent to cover the Matrix Awards, which honors the achievements of women in communications.
“An unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey had just been published and my job was to ask her what she thought about the book. Needless to say, I was very nervous.”
Although Oprah sidestepped the red carpet, Frederick got the quote he needed from her associate and best friend, Gayle King—and, more importantly, won the confidence of his supervisors at Fox. He went on to do on-the-street promos and cover a range of news stories—including one recent piece on the bedbug scare.
In late November, Frederick left Fox as he prepared to leave for Honolulu, Hawaii, and the next stage of his career. “I was stationed there in the Navy and stayed on after my discharge, so I’m confident that with my BMCC education, knowledge of the city and experience at Fox, I should be able to find my way onto local TV,” he says. He also plans to continue his education at a four-year college and earn a B.A. in Broadcasting. Ultimately, he hopes to return to New York—and a full-time on-the-air position.
One person who is cheering him to succeed is Shirley Zaragoza, an associate professor of Business Management.
A commitment to giving back
“Daryl was my student for one semester in Business 200,” she says. “He showed me a short video he’d made, in which he played a person in a very stressful situation. I felt there would be value in showing the video in class, because it addressed some of the same topics we were covering—critical thinking, assessing your environment and making choices.”
The students were fascinated by the video and discussed it with great interest. “It went over so well that I asked Daryl for permission to show it in other classes,” says Zaragoza. “After he graduated, I invited him back. He made a tremendous impact on the students, who saw him as someone who had used the resources BMCC offers to get where he is.”
For Frederick, speaking to Zaragoza’s classes has been a way of giving back to BMCC—and to a teacher who was a major inspiration to him. “I was a confident person when I first came to BMCC, but I graduated with a different kind of confidence—a knowledge that regardless of what I wanted do, I had a solid educational background. That’s something no one can take away from you.”