NBC Spotlight: Jenna Susko

Born and raised Southern Belle Jenna Susko hit the city of Angels with her investigative talents and is shining brighter than the midnight stars.

Screenshot 2016-02-02 23.10.25Jenna Susko is a national award winning Investigative Reporter in Los Angeles, CA at NBC.

Not only are her eyes striking the camera in an ever so enlightening way, her go getter attitude is opening the city’s eyes to the real issues that have been tucked away behind the Los Angeles glam.

“I always wanted to do investigative reporting,” Jenna Susko said. “I love research and really feel like I am helping the community because I am getting real answers and holding people accountable.”

Jenna Susko joined the NBC4 Southern California Investigative Team in January of 2015.

Politics and Journalism

Susko attended Florida State University, studying general journalism, and like most people, thought of becoming a news anchor, or a news reporter. Often journalism is narrowed down to just reporting, when in actuality it is broader than most can imagine.

Susko’s first job after college was in Augusta, Georgia which “epitomizes the classic South.”

Susko was first exposed to Investigative Reporting while working in Augusta on a story about local gangs.

“I was very passionate about this case because the public was being lied too,” Susko said. “I spent a lot of time investigating this story and realized there is investigative reporting, if you do it the right way.”

 Upbringing with IRE

IRE stands for Investigative Reporters and Editors. It is a nonprofit organization for investigative reporters who are able to come together once a year to share and learn from other reporters.

“IRE is one of the few journalism organizations that I think you can go to that you can actually walk away from with skills instead of just networking,” Managing Editor of KNBC and Vice President of IRE, Matt Goldberg said.

 IRE has strengthened and molded Susko into the warrior reporter she is today.

It is a really great community and it is nice to hear how other people overcome obstacles,” Susko said.

Screenshot 2016-02-02 23.42.41

 

Susko encourages journalists to get involved in IRE and the mentorship program they offer.

“I do not know where I would be working without IRE and my stories would have never been as strong,” Susko said. “I have stayed involved in the organization and now I am a speaker every year.”

Susko continues to stay inspired by IRE.

“You have bad days in this world. You will have days that you won’t get the records or interviews did not go the way you wanted, but attending IRE it rejuvenates you,” Susko said.

Inspiring people

Matt Goldberg is the KNBC Managing Editor and the Vice President of IRE. He has been someone Susko has learned from and continues to learn from to this day.

The two met at IRE where both have found tremendous success in their careers. With Susko’s contagious and bold demeanor she landed her California dream jobs. First in San Francisco in 2011 and now in Los Angeles, working under Goldberg once again.

“I gave Jenna a job that I knew she was ready for, but a lot of people would not have given someone that opportunity coming from a small market like she was,” Goldberg said. “She had the drive and her questioning was as good as anyone else.”

Investigative

Susko’s go-getter personality has landed her some of the top investigations in the year of 2015 in the Los Angeles County.

“My second day at NBC my news director told me to look into filming at schools,” Susko said. “I filed a public records request for everything that was being filmed at schools.”

Right away she put her passion for research to work.

“Jenna takes her work very seriously, she will not go after a story unless her heart is fully in it,” Investigative Producer, NBC Bay Area Julie Putnam said.

Susko’s high determination started paying off when secrets were finally being exposed about the filming’s at the schools.

“If Jenna wants a document, she will get it,” Putnam said. “She does not settle for easy journalism, she will do everything in her power until she gets what she wants.”

Though it took a year to uncover the story, Susko maneuvered around denied interviews from public officials, and through deep research. Susko ended up with the scandalous evidence everyone wanted to know.

Susko’s determination and powerful perseverance is what keeps her going. Even after the stories are done, Susko is not done. That is why she has won some of the most outstanding awards in the business: SPJ National Award: Public Service in Television Large Market “The Gift of Time,” SPJ National Award: Public Service in Television Large Market “Guessing Pensions,” and 2015 FSU Thirty Under 30 award.

“Jenna is a superstar,” Goldberg said. “That is why I have hired her twice, she is one of the best reporters in the business and will continue to unravel great stories.”

 

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