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Q&A with J.D. Pruess, Producer/Editor/Cameraman

Los Angeles Dodgers

An Inside Look at Being a Sports TV "Utility Man"

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J.D. Pruess has an unconventional point of view on just about everything."My boss asked me once to do a story on ‘If the Seattle Mariner fans were ready for the Yankees to come to town.’ This is standard feature fare and in my 4th month on the job, I didn’t want to do standard fare…I wanted to stand out”, remembers a sheepishly grinning Pruess. “That night, I came up with the idea of actually dressing in an authentic NY Yankee uniform and standing in downtown Seattle with a hidden camera filming my interaction with Seattleites.”

Turning a simple story into a unique feature not only landed Pruess accolades around the newsroom, it also landed him a local Emmy award.


J.D. Pruess’s Sports TV “Stats”

jd pruess sports producer video editor cameramanEducation: University of Missouri

Production Jobs held: Video Editor, Cameraman, Producer, Reporter

Stations: KICU-TV (San Jose, CA), Fox Sports Net Bay Area (San Francisco, CA), Fox Sports Net Northwest (Seattle, WA) Fox Sports Net West (Los Angeles, CA) Los Angeles Dodgers (Los Angeles, CA)

Best piece of advice:. Take a chance….if it doesn’t work, try something new tomorrow.



When did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in Sports TV?

.I decided this was something I wanted to do very early on. My mom was a food reporter for Fox-5 in New York’s “Good Day New York” and when I was 11 the crew came to my house to film a live shot on Thanksgiving morning of my mom cooking our Turkey Day meal. I liked the rush all the crew members got when the big moment approached and our family was on the air…I knew it was far more exciting than a typical 9-to-5.

What was it about a career in Sports TV that originally lured you?

I guess it was just the adrenaline rush involved in the whole production. I loved hearing the shooter count down the reporter in our kitchen and I was hooked. Later on, I found out I really loved hearing stories of athletes behind the scenes. Growing up a Mets fan I remember seeing a story about how 2nd Baseman Gregg Jefferies was taught to hit by his father by swinging a bat in a pool. I always have liked stories that add an extra dimension to those who play the game.

Did you initially have fears that it would be hard to ‘get in the door’?

Yes and no…maybe it was my New York moxie, but I guess I thought I could make it regardless. Once my mother asked her journalist friends where I should go to school and they raved about Missouri and the “Mizzou Mafia” alumni program I knew I would be ok.

jd pruess shaun alexander nick lacheyWhere did you go to school and how much did it help you in your Sports TV career?

I went to the University of Missouri-Columbia or “Mizzou.” It was the most critical decision in my entire professional path. The program at MU is unparalleled because of its ability to allow students to do all TV functions at a real-live NBC affiliate.

Over the years I have told every young aspiring TV professional who has asked me what they should do to succeed the same answer….”Go to Mizzou and you’ll never look back.”

Where did you land your first job in Sports TV?

I was hired at KICU-TV in San Jose, CA through the Mizzou Mafia—a MU alum called the station in Missouri and asked for someone who could report sports, produce, edit and shoot. Missouri had always taught me versatility and my listening to that lesson paid off as I was the perfect fit for the job working on “High School Sports Focus”

After your first few months did you know you made the right career choice, or were there concerns?jd pruess andruw jones

I knew I had made a good choice—after all I was on the air in market 5 at the age of 22, but I wanted to do more and ultimately that led me to look for bigger things in the San Francisco market.

What were the hardest things to get used to about working in Sports TV?

The long hours and the low pay when you begin. It seems that the two become more in line as you get older—not like non-TV jobs, but better. But it could be brutal out there to start.

Would you do anything differently if you could go back to the early stages of your career?

Maybe I wouldn’t have stressed so much early in my career and would have tried to just have fun. I spent way too many hours worrying about the future and what was next and probably missed a couple really fun moments along the way. I would say to the 22-year-old me—“Relax…if you’re good, you’ll make it.”

What is the most difficult thing about working in Television?

Still the hours…now that I’m back working in sports after a few years away it’s challenging to be tied to a 162-game schedule and knowing that anytime a personal event comes up, you immediately have to check the team’s pocket schedule.

Has working in television exceeded or fallen short of your expectations?

I had high hopes for my career and while it’s been a roller coaster ride, I think it’s been exactly as I imagined it to be…fun at the end of the day.

jd pruess mandy mooreHow has your career developed in titles, responsibilities and locations?

When I first started I really thought I wanted to be on the air and although I did it in two Top 20 markets and won awards for my reporting, I always found my skills behind the scenes were my greatest strengths. After all I had to learn that what got me into the industry (long-form storytelling) truly lies in the hands of the producers and not the talent. Once I understood that, the transition was easier to accept.

In terms of locations, I‘ve been lucky to have worked in only 3 cities in the 13 years since I graduated from Mizzou and they are all Top 20 markets—San Francisco, Seattle and L.A. I’ve worked a lot of places since I’ve moved to Southern California, but glad I haven’t had to pack up my life over and over.

Do you have any advice for someone considering a career in Sports TV?

Go to Mizzou. I’m not kidding…no one is paying me to say this. I really can’t tell you how much you will get out the program there. There is no school, internship, apprenticeship or PA job that will get you ready for a long and successful career than going to the University of Missouri.

jd pruess emmy awardDo you have a memorable story – whether funny, sad or just interesting – that you’d like to share?

Don’t be afraid to take chances.

When I was reporting in Seattle my boss asked me to do a feature on “If the Seattle Mariner fans were ready for the Yankees to come to town.” This is standard feature fare and in my 4th month on the job, I didn’t want to do standard fare…I wanted to stand out. That night, I came up with the idea of actually dressing in an authentic NY Yankee uniform and standing in downtown Seattle with a hidden camera filming my interaction with Seattlites. I told my boss and Coordinating Producer Brian Clapp the idea the next day and they said to go for it. It turned out better that I expected with fans really being put off by this “obnoxious Yankee” in their city. The piece was well received and even won an Emmy Award later that year.

Take a chance….if it doesn’t work, try something new tomorrow.


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