Tatum Baldwin, a Manchester, Tennessee, native, realized her interest in broadcasting while watching her local news station. After graduating from the University of Tennessee at Martin in May, Baldwin is now working as a producer for Cape Girardeau, Missouri’s, KFVS-TV, which will allow her to help plan and create the newscasts that inspired her.
Baldwin originally heard about UT Martin from a hometown friend who had applied. Upon looking into the university further, she was drawn in by the small student population and close-knit community that UT Martin had to offer.
“One thing that sold me was the student-to-teacher ratio. I knew I would get that one-on-one experience that I needed to excel in college and after, and I was right,” Baldwin said.
“One thing that sold me was the student-to-teacher ratio. I knew I would get that one-on-one experience that I needed to excel in college and after, and I was right,” Baldwin said. “I have relationships with all my professors, and it’s just made my experience here a lot better.”
While Baldwin was taking her introduction to broadcasting course, WUTM 90.3 “The Hawk,” UT Martin’s student-run radio station, was looking to find new students to replace those who were graduating. Tatum expressed interest, and in fall 2021, she was added as the news director.
It was at WUTM where she would not only build firsthand experience planning and executing newscasts, but also build relationships with her classmates and advisers. These relationships would become Baldwin’s favorite part of her experience with the station as she and her fellow members of the station often spent long hours preparing and recording the radio programs. She also quickly started working on-air and in production with UTM Television.
She especially values the relationships she built with her advisers, Dr. Richard Robinson, professor of mass media and strategic communication and WUTM adviser, and Rodney Freed, instructor of mass media and strategic communication and adviser for UTM Television.
“I’ll cherish all the friendships I made in the relationships with my mentors,” Baldwin said.
“I’ll cherish all the friendships I made in the relationships with my mentors,” Baldwin said. “I probably would have been close with them because I would have had them as professors, but it’s just not the same as being around them all day.”
As the station’s program director, Baldwin led the station through the university’s transition to holding in-person classes and events as the pandemic subsided in fall 2021. This allowed the station to begin directly interacting with students; during this time, WUTM set up a live booth at the Paul Meek Library’s open house Sept. 23 and at Quad City during Homecoming Week.
“Tatum Baldwin is a winner in every sense of the word. I feel confident that she will achieve success in the field of television production and reporting,” said Robinson. “Her future looks bright indeed.”
The past two years of experience at WUTM have prepared Baldwin for her newest venture: working behind the scenes to produce newscasts at KFVS-TV. Baldwin’s daily tasks will include deciding what stories will be featured and when, as well as how long each story needs to be. She will also need to stay flexible during the broadcast in case of a delay.
“You have to keep up with it during the broadcast, too. If the meteorologist goes 30 seconds over, you have to jump in and be like, ‘Okay, we’ve got to cut 30 seconds, where do we have to cut 30 seconds?’ Because there’s not a lot of 30-second stories,” Baldwin said. “But that’s what I like. I like the adrenaline.”
After a few months working as a producer, Baldwin will begin training to become a multimedia journalist, which will supplement her production experience with on-air reporting duties.
For Baldwin, one of the greatest lessons she learned was to not fear risk and to take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to her.
“Don’t take your time (in college) for granted; it’ll be some of the best times of your life. Even though in the moment, especially during finals week, all your stress seems like it’s never going to end, but you’ll get through it,” Baldwin said.
“Don’t take your time (in college) for granted; it’ll be some of the best times of your life. Even though in the moment, especially during finals week, all your stress seems like it’s never going to end, but you’ll get through it,” Baldwin said. “I’m just very thankful for my four years here.”