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Breaking Glass

Former news anchor Janine Strafaci says internships were a key to her early success

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Janine Strafaci, former News 12 anchor and now creator of ShoreTV New Jersey.
Janine Strafaci, former News 12 anchor and now creator of ShoreTV New Jersey. - ()

In you've lived in New Jersey any time within the past 17 years, and if you own a TV, there's a good chance you're already familiar with Janine Strafaci.

She served as one of News 12 New Jersey’s main news anchors, and was the longest running female news anchor at the station. She covered the major Garden State news events during her time in the industry; her efforts even landed her two Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award.

As if she hadn’t already, now Strafaci is doing more to make a name for herself — she’s creator and host of ShoreTV New Jersey, a video-based lifestyle website. The website’s news-style videos highlight the best places to shop, dine, play and stay at the Jersey Shore. 

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Strafaci is an alumna of Boston University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a degree in French language and literature. It was actually through studying abroad in Paris that Strafaci reinforced her passion for the broadcast news career (starting with an on-air intern position at a Parisian radio station) that she went on to excel in.

Check out her latest entrepreneurial venture at www.shoretvnj.com, and enjoy this Q&A with Strafaci:

NJBIZ:What was the most important thing you learned during your education?

Janine Strafaci: Internships, networking and good old-fashioned hard work are what sets you apart from the rest. I took every opportunity to learn my trade from the professionals already doing the job. I knew that in order to achieve my goals I needed to learn from other journalists and their experiences. In fact, during one summer break from Boston University while home in New Jersey, I held three internships at the same time. I interned at a New York City radio station, a New Jersey radio station and a local newspaper. I balanced that schedule with a summer job that paid me. I knew it would all be worth it and I’m happy to report that it was!

NJBIZ:What were the attitudes toward women in your industry when you first started?

JS: I’m not sure if it were because I was young and enthusiastic, but I don’t recall ever feeling a particular attitude toward women or that such an attitude overshadowed my job experience. In fact, I was fortunate to have successful female broadcast journalists for me to look up to. In my mind, I was going to be a broadcast journalist and there was no stopping me — I didn’t have a backup plan. In fact, it was a male radio news director who gave me my first job.  I interned for him during college. I’ll never forget, he called me on my college graduation day and said: “Hey we have an on-air opening. … Want a job?” To my knowledge, I was the only one graduating from my class with an on-air job.

NJBIZ:What mistakes do women often make at the workplace?                                                                               

JS: I can only speak to my experience, but I think we sometimes are hesitant to ask for what we need or want in the workplace. 

NJBIZ:What has been your worst experience as a woman at work?

JS: I wouldn’t call it the “worst” but it was the most memorable — that would be when I went into labor with my first baby immediately after I signed-off after anchoring the hourlong 10 p.m. newscast back in 2005. I had just completed a nearly 10-hour workday and my son arrived six weeks premature after emergency surgery. That definitely takes women “having it all” to an extreme. 

NJBIZ:What is the best advice you can give regarding work/life balance?

JS: There is no balance; there is a blend. Your personal life comes with you to work and your work comes home with you. For me, the compassion, patience and devotion that comes with being a mother of three young children is now part of who I am as a journalist. And being a journalist/woman entrepreneur brings to my home life inspiration and life lessons I convey to my children. In fact, I try to turn many of my professional business interactions into life lessons for my children, including bringing them along at times. And often they give me the best advice. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

NJBIZ: What would you say are the top five things that successful women always do well?

JS: 1) Believe in themselves. 2) Support other women. 3)  Embrace the chaos. 4) Think outside of the box. 5) Multitask.

NJBIZ: How do you inspire and motivate your team?

JS: I lead by example. If I am committed to hard work and devoted to quality outcomes, other team members will be as well. And presenting a story is a team effort. There are countless stories that need to be shared in New Jersey, so many positive stories about the people and places that make our communities shine, and we have created a platform to help make that happen. It’s a privilege and a pleasure.

NJBIZ: What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

JS: I love spending time with family and friends — and that could mean interacting on the kids’ soccer fields or cooking up a meal at home. I also enjoy time along the Jersey Shore — even if it’s just taking a stroll along the beach. 

NJBIZ: Do aspects of your job carry into your personal interests and hobbies?

JS: Most definitely. ShoreTV New Jersey is designed to feature the wonderful people and places in and around the Jersey Shore.  It’s where we are raising our children. I’m promoting the stories about a part of New Jersey that I call “home.”

ALSO ON THE NJBIZ "BREAKING GLASS" WOMEN IN BUSINESS BLOG:

10 books for businesswomen by businesswomen

Mary Alice Williams on the true meaning behind being a 'Jersey girl'

How to succeed in business — when you're short

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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