In today’s era of web bloggers and a growing distaste for the mainstream media, Rick Hancock’s biggest fear is becoming yesterday’s news.
“I’ve been laid off in Harrisburg and it was pretty traumatic. Losing viewers and readers to the web, there may come a time when they don’t want me to do my best. I wanted to remain relevant,” he said.
One way Hancock has maintained relevance is looking to the Internet.
“I saw a sea change of how news is consumed and produced. I loved being a journalist, it’s just that I practiced my craft on TV,” said Hancock, who has big, vigilant eyes and the deep voice of a broadcast journalist.
Hancock had barely any reporting experience when NBC in Washington, D.C. called him up and offered him his first job on Dec. 25, 1994.
“The phone rings and it was the news director. I was asked to do some part time reporting, I’ve never done this,” he said.
Experience didn’t matter as Hancock soon found his niche and took the helm as chief political reporter for Fox 61 news in Connecticut.
“I fell in love talking to people,” he said.
Hancock’s continuing evolution as a journalist took him back to the most unlikely of places: school. He enrolled at Quinnipiac’s graduate program studying e-media, eventually taking the position as assistant dean for the School of Communications.
“Quinnipiac wanted media experience. They embraced me, allowing me to grow,” he said.
“Through his professional associations he has increased the students’ level of interest in events of the current Connecticut political campaigns,” said Michele Moore, the associate dean of the School of Communications.
Hancock emphasizes that reporting on the Internet can be more objective and transparent than in print and on television. Communities can come together and interact through blogging which allow, “more public participation and protects you from any bias,” he said.
One of the ways Hancock continues to practice good journalism today is doing an ad-watch for Fox 61’s Web site, through which he examines and dissects the television ads created by Senate candidates Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont.
“Journalism is a craft that is a powerful tool to communicate with your community,” Hancock said. He stresses that good journalists are needed regardless of whether they are reporting for newspapers, radio or the Internet.
“We can’t lose sight of practicing good journalism,” Hancock said.