Zach Ben-Amots, who recently graduated from Northeastern’s Master of Arts (MA) in Journalism program, is now in Chicago working as a digital video producer at WLS-TV ABC 7. In his role, Zach is a “one-man-band,” producing important stories that feature different people around the city. He has had the opportunity to identify and pursue most of his own stories and films so far and edits them on his own. He has already produced videos about playing basketball at Chicago’s legendary outdoor court and youth boxing program teaching life skills.
“Because I have so much choice in the stories that I get to do, I try to make a point of doing stories about marginalized people,” Zach added.
His typical week includes the creation of three to four stories, and on rarer occasions, he also assists in major breaking news in Chicago; ABC 7 is known for its excellent coverage of breaking news items. Recently, during Chicago’s rally against Trump, Zach was responsible for capturing photographs for a photo essay.
“For breaking news, everyone comes together in the station and really is on their A-game,” he described. “In those instances, I contribute to the teamwork of a breaking news story.”
One of his favorite parts about his new job in Chicago: his co-workers. “The job is making me better at my craft,” said Zach.
The other favorite part of the job is the location which serves as the perfect backdrop to explore many topics.
“I love being able to do storytelling in a city like Chicago,” he said. “They are over two million people and an infinite number of stories, and an infinite number of interesting things going on.”
When Zach was applying to jobs, this opportunity at ABC 7 really stood out. “I was surprised to see such a cool position open up at such an amazing station. People are doing amazing work and I am grateful for the amount of freedom I have to be producing these stories on my own and choosing the stories that I do.”
Zach is also grateful for the connections he made with the professors at Northeastern that helped him land the job in Chicago. The 2019 trip to Cuba with other Journalism students as part of Professor Carlene Hempel’s course helped his professional development in many ways.
“It was a pretty life-changing experience,” said Zach. “It got me a really good clip in the Washington Post . It made me a lot stronger at going to an environment that I was new too and producing a good product.”
Zach ultimately found Northeastern after completing an undergraduate degree at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. At Lawrence, he earned his BA in Film/Video/Cinema Studies where he strengthened his video skills and spent a lot of time making documentaries and art videos. He decided that we wanted to transfer over to journalism for his master’s degree so that his videos would be visually strong, but also impactful.
“I wanted people to see my videos,” said Zach. “I wanted to know how to make a video that was impactful and reaching an audience. I did not really have the skills to just teach myself journalism. I knew I wanted to learn from masters and people who practiced it.”
While at Northeastern, he spent a year as the Editor-In-Chief at The Scope, a new digital publication, founded as a platform for neighborhood stories of justice, hope, and resilience that is operated by Northeastern students. Zach also spent six months as a video production intern at Cambridge Community Television.
Cambridge TV allowed Zach to expand upon his love of video, calling it “the coolest place in the world.” There, he helped with productions in the studio and the video creation.
“Mainly, it was really a space to share a love of video with people,” concluded Zach. “A lot of people go into journalism at these TV stations to be on-air reporters and be the face of the story and be the person telling the story. I really like doing journalism and enjoy storytelling, but I am also a video nerd. I love video, I love cameras, I love editing, I love a cool shot. I love a great video sequence.”
We look forward to hearing more from Zach Ben-Amots and his adventures in the field!