Chris Wragge, current CBS News anchor based out of New York City, was invited to the Memorial Union Building (MUB) on April 5 to be the latest guest speaker for the Current Issues Lecture series. Dave Zamansky, the assistant director of the MUB, led a Q&A session with Wragge, and those in attendance were able to learn about the anchor’s experience as a UNH student-athlete, his early career, his current career and some favorite moments he’s had as a news anchor.
Wragge attended UNH as an undergrad football recruit from 1988-92. He graduated with an English major and communication minor. Both of his parents were lawyers, so Wragge figured that he would also follow that career path post graduation. It was during his last year of school that he got involved working with WMUR, Manchester’s news and weather channel. He explained to students that his internship at WMUR was “before [students] got credit for internships,” and he would drive down twice a week, and work four hours unpaid.
The internship at WMUR went well for him, and he was quickly offered his first contract a month after graduation. He was paid a salary of $18,500 to cover the UNH football team, the same team that he had just played for the year prior. He quickly found success at WMUR and was promoted. After four years, he was offered his dream job as an ESPN sports anchor. At the same time he was offered the job, his agent called him to let him know that “Entertainment Tonight” was auditioning for a host in California. Without hesitation, he flew out west and auditioned for the position the next day. On his flight back, he was offered the job.
Wragge’s early career was centered around sports, but for the past 10 or so years, his career has been to report the news to the people of New York City. He added that the transition brought a lot of change. More specifically, he realized a difference between the two: sports highlight people’s successes, and news highlights people’s failures. He added, “There’s not a day in New York that murder, a fire, destruction, etc. etc. doesn’t happen.” However, that comes with the job of being a news anchor. He shared advice one of his mentors gave him at the beginning of his career: “For every great day, you’re going to have 10 bad ones.”
At the end of the Q&A session, Wragge shared some words of advice for students looking to be leaders in their career fields. He urged students to “concentrate all of [their] attention, and stay focused.” His career didn’t explode overnight, but took time, making connections and building his portfolio. He advised students, “Don’t rush your career, you got to treat it more like a marathon than a sprint… let yourself marinate a little bit.”