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April 30, 2015
Dante Jones wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life when he arrived at Northwest Missouri State University. But he did know he wanted to work in an industry that connected with his interest in sports.
That industry turned out to be television, and Jones — a first-generation college graduate — exits Northwest this spring with his bachelor’s degree in broadcast production. The Kansas City, Mo., native begins his career in May as the morning producer at KNPN, a Fox affiliate in St. Joseph.
“Sports was something I was heavily involved in growing up, and I was just trying to see what career might let me be involved in sports,” Jones said. “I found my passion, and it happened to be television. I just hit it head-on and got really involved in the TV department. It’s been a great journey.”
Jones quickly joined KNWT Channel 8, Northwest’s student-managed television station, as a practicum student and reporter. He worked on “Shenanigans,” a comedy show, in addition to reporting for the station’s long-standing sports program, “Bearcat Update.”
Eventually, Jones accepted the role at KNWT’s producer, allowing him to develop his interests and skills in production. Jones helped KNWT to a runner-up finish in the TV Station of the Year Award category and second place for Best Television Newscast in the 2014 national Pinnacle awards.
As a senior, Jones broadened his skills and experiences by joining Northwest’s Office of University Marketing and Communications as a video production assistant.
“Northwest is just a place where you can get in, get involved, get hands-on experience and just learn your craft,” Jones said. “It’s almost like a four-year internship. You get in, dig deep, learn about what you want to do and prepare yourself for the real world.”
Jones took advantage of opportunities beyond the Northwest campus, too. Recently, he worked on the set of a taping of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” in Kansas City, Mo.
But he is most proud of the work he completed during a summer internship with Time Warner Cable Sports Channel in Kansas City. That experience included a night when a producer asked him to prepare a package of sports highlights with minutes to spare before a broadcast. Jones accepted the challenge and delivered like a pro.
“I got it done in the 20 minutes before the show, and I got my script and my shot sheet out to the anchors.” Jones said. “That was something that will stick with me the rest of my life. The crew applauded me and it was a great moment.”
Looking back on his years as a Northwest student, Jones says he is grateful for faculty and staff members – like Assistant Professor of Mass Media Fred Lamer, TV and Video Engineer Will Murphy, and University Photographer and Videographer Darren Whitley – who were always willing to offer the kind of extra instruction and advice that helped him improve. Jones says he especially will miss working with friends in Wells Hall, the hub for student media on the Northwest campus.
“Everybody here is great and always willing to lend a hand and help you get to that next stage,” Jones said. “I’ve gained a lot of friendships and knowledge, and I’ve gained different perspectives. You meet different people every day. Northwest is a diverse set of people.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468