Veteran WCBS Radio traffic reporter and Montclair State University alumnus Tom Kaminski ’84 was presented with the 2011 Allen B. DuMont Broadcaster of the Year Award at the DuMont Television Center on November 11. The Broadcaster of the Year Award is presented to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the field of broadcasting.
Kaminski has covered metro-area traffic and breaking news from “Chopper 880,” the station helicopter, since 1988 and is the WCBS Radio 880 Traffic and Transit Managing Editor. He has covered everything from traffic accidents to ticker-tape parades, and is noted for his coverage of the events of 9/11, which he witnessed and was first to report from his unique vantage point in the sky over Manhattan.
Kaminski was joined at the DuMont Award event by WCBS colleagues reporter Rich Lamb and news director Tim Scheld. After taping an interview with Assistant Professor Marc Rosenweig for a special edition of the Department of Broadcasting’s weekly show, Carpe Diem, Kaminski accepted the award and, together with Scheld, spoke to a master class of broadcasting students.
The two industry veterans responded to a wide range of questions from the students including one about how technology has changed their work. “It’s probably the most exciting time that journalism has ever experienced, mostly because of the exponential change in technology,” responded Kaminski. “Everybody is a journalist. Every one of you probably has a cell phone that’s able to record audio, that’s able to record video—you are now a journalist. That’s different from when we were the only ones who had tape recorders.”
Another student asked what the pressure to be the first on the scene was like. “Well, I may be able to be on the scene first, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I have all the information, so what I do is just report on what I see,” said Kaminski. “I focus on the facts of what I see and don’t speculate.” Scheld added to this comment saying, “There is no pressure to be first—the pressure is to be right. Because if you’re wrong when everybody rushes to [you] as a news source, they will remember that you were wrong.”
Established in 1985, the Broadcaster of the Year Award has honored noted individuals in the field including Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, Roz Abrams, formerly of Eyewitness News, Inside Edition anchor Deborah Norville, and My9 News anchor Brenda Blackmon. The selection of candidates is based on recommendations by faculty and staff of the Department of Broadcasting and the DuMont Television Center at Montclair State University.