Montclair State alumna, Leigh Scheps, who graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor’s in broadcasting with a minor in musical theater, is making a name for herself in New York City as a digital reporter for Inside Edition.
When asked why she became a digital reporter, Scheps admitted that it is because a lot of the stories she produces are feel-good stories that help the community.
According to Scheps’ LinkedIn profile, she has produced viral content, such as a business report on a $35,000 Thanksgiving dinner which received over 3.5 million clicks on AOL. Scheps also had a story on Oreo Churros go viral and reach more than 1 million views on AOL.
When the Montclair State alumna is not producing editorial content for Inside Edition, Scheps can be found as a contributor for BroadwayWorld.com, where she has interviewed celebrities such as Dave Coulier from Full House, Laura Beanti and Chris Fitzgerald.
Scheps only applied to two schools after high school: Montclair State University and Rider University. “I liked Montclair because it was close to New York City. I wanted to be as close as possible to New York and I liked that the broadcast program was small and hands- on. Your professors knew your name,” said Scheps.
After graduating from Montclair State University a semester early in 2007, Scheps interned with Fox News as a specials unit intern. Scheps then became a reporter in the Bronx and Brooklyn for News 12. “I had never been to those two boroughs, but had to cover them,” she said.
Scheps found the internships on her own but said, “From my internship at Fox News, they loved what I did at Montclair State and they were like ‘Let’s have them all, we love all the Montclair State kids.’”
According to Scheps, it is important to intern and make great connections; one should always be available and willing to say “yes.”
“As a reporter, you always carry your makeup bag,” said Scheps while quickly applying her mascara and looking into her round, compact mirror. Inside her desk are peep-toe pumps, worn out gray Vans sneakers and a floral-printed makeup bag. Her computer screen displayed multiple tabs and her co-workers typed quickly on their keyboards, digging through the internet for the next viral story.
“Even if a story only has one asset, [Scheps] will somehow get police officers to go back to where the story took place, do a FaceTime with us, reconnect with people and get them to shoot B-roll as well,” said Rebecca Zamer, supervising producer for the Inside Edition website. “She has a way of telling stories with limited assets and making it visually appealing.”
“[Scheps] is very good with puns. She’ll add comedy and light-heartedness to a story to make it more enjoyable. There is a certain personality that you need to have in this industry. No one will ever get a job in TV or in this industry if they are not persistent,” said Zamer.
“She’ll take nothing and make something,” said Lydia Warren, managing editor for InsideEdition.com. “I don’t think she would give up. She hustles. If she decides she wants to do a story she will make it happen.” According to Warren, Scheps got her job at Inside Edition because she decided to speak up and introduce herself to Warren.
When an internship position opened up at Inside Edition, Scheps specifically notified Marc Rosenweig, associate professor for the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State about the available opportunity.
Leah Collie, current digital intern for InsideEdition.com and Montclair State University student majoring in television production found out about the internship position through Montclair State’s College of the Arts Career Services emails.
“I thought this would be a great job to work at and so I said ‘Yeah why not,’” said Collie. “I applied, had a phone interview with Lydia and in a few weeks I came in for orientation. I loved the office and the people.”
Collie, who is graduating from Montclair State in 2017, is planning to stay at Inside Edition as a part-time employee and credits Montclair State’s Writing for the Media course for her blogging and interviewing skills. “I come here three days a week from Bayonne. I love the environment here. I’ve become more confident when it comes to speaking up,” said Collie.
Collie, who is also a former web editor for The Montclarion, said, “Montclair has taught me a lot about becoming confident and going after your dream. My professors told me that no matter what, I should stay true to who I am and chase my dream, and if I have enough faith, that I could achieve those dreams and become successful.”
“At Montclair, I got to work with so many talented people within the broadcasting department and all the production opportunities that were brought on to campus,” said Scheps.“It was like I was already in the workforce.”
Scheps shared that she attends annual alumni homecoming events, is actively talking to former colleagues and would love to teach an adjunct class at Montclair State on basic news reporting or digital journalism.