Daniel Andrews is a journalist, photographer, and contributor to some of the biggest award shows in the music industry. He graduated from SUNY Old Westbury with a bachelor’s degree after transferring from Nassau Community College and has since moved to the South to write and photograph for a Knoxville, Tennessee newspaper.
Enamored by the charm of the South and its music, Andrew has become a member of the Academy of Country Music, the Grammys, and the Country Music Association. These affiliations have given him unfettered access to musicians at the birth of their careers, like Taylor Swift and Florida Georgia Line.
In addition to reporting on music (it comes naturally with his territory), Andrews covers all-things-Knox County. He prefers covering The White House and its power, prestige, and impact on Knox County and frequents The House House Lawn to report on issues that impact the citizens of Knox County.
It’s safe to say that, with all of these experiences and skills in one package, Andrews’ journalistic talents can be summarized in one word: comprehensive.
1. Why did you choose to attend SUNY Old Westbury?
I went to Nassau Community College and after receiving my degree I was able to transfer most of my credits with ease to SUNY Old Westbury. The close commute and the affordable price as well as small class sizes made it the perfect fit. I am proud to say that my total cost for my Bachelor degree was $10,000 total from the day I started at NCC to the day I walked across the stage and received my diploma. I graduated with zero debt!
2. You are now a writer for the newspaper, ‘Knoxville Focus’, and a member of the Academy of Country Music, the Grammys, and the Country Music Association. How does your career relate to those memberships?
Being so close to Nashville, Knoxville is quite often the first major stop for many future stars. An example is Taylor Swift. The first time she performed live on the radio was in Knoxville. We are about 180 miles from Nashville. So the great part of my job is I get to see, hear and write about talent as their careers start to take off. That is when they are usually most media friendly. A couple quick examples are Florida Georgia Line and Hunter Hayes. I remember when I wrote about them when there was about 20 people in the room!
3. What is the most exciting report you’ve done as a journalist? Most memorable?
Most exciting is actually the diversity in my day. With teleconference technology I can literally join in on a White House conference call in the morning about an issue affecting my county. Then go cover a ribbon cutting. Then take another conference call involving NASA and technology developed in my region. The most exciting thing is actually covering the White House at the White House. It is such an amazing feeling to walk through the Secret Service checkpoint and be a part of the press corps. When Pat Summitt was honored at the White House and I received permission to cover the event, that truly was a highlight in my career.
4. What does your membership in each of the music associations provide?
Short answer, credibility! It is very hard to be a member of any of the three organizations as a journalist. With so many bloggers, freelance journalists, and people claiming to be reporters, having membership in my opinion is critical to a journalist if you can get it.
It helps me get on the red carpet for major events. It also helps me break the ice with country music singers. When they hear (usually by either their publicist or a radio personality that is introducing me) that I carry three of the most prestigious cards in the music industry, there is a certain amount of respect that is immediately given.
5. Overall, how did your college education help prepare you for life and your career?
I received my degree in psychology. Everyday I deal with people. That is my job. To interact and communicate. The better I can understand the person I am talking with the better my article will be.
6. What advice do you have to share with SUNY students? Any tips for aspiring journalists?
At the end of the day, I spent $10,000 for my degree and I am working in the same field making the same money as people who spent 100K at a private university and almost 20 years later they are still paying off student loans! My best tip is to literally email your local reporter and ask them out for lunch. Every news market is different and has unique demands. By sitting down and having lunch, they can tell you what the best plan is for your career goal.
Big Ideas is the Blog of The State University of New York, published by the Office of New Media.