SCF Alumna Keeping Up with the Trends for WWSB, ABC-7

(Bradenton, Fla., Oct. 23, 2018) — You can see State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) alumna Chloe Conboy most Friday nights talking about what’s hot in politics on “Week in Washington” on WWSB, ABC-7. During the week, you might hear her talking about what’s trending on social media for “The Suncoast View.” Conboy, digital content producer at ABC-7, has her cursor on the pulse of Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Conboy grew up in the digital age. As a recent college graduate, she knows most younger people have a phone in their hand while watching television.

“I do that too. I’m never not working; digital is 24/7, and it’s hard for me to flip that switch off,” she said. “The digital position is perfect for me. Having someone younger who can connect with younger people helps the station increase brand awareness.”

Conboy works with the anchors and some of the reporters to shed their professional personas to have fun with some social media trends. She said chief meteorologist Bob Harrigan is a great sport when it comes to taking up viral social media challenges. He tried the invisible box challenge and can be seen dancing to Drake at Conboy’s urging.

When Conboy began her college career as a dual enrollment student on the SCF campus, she had no idea what career path she wanted to take. She and several of her friends, who were all academically-inclined, got involved at SCF through dual enrollment. By the time Conboy graduated from high school, she was well on her way toward getting her Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree. She loved taking classes at SCF Bradenton while in high school and was already comfortable on a college campus by the time she was officially a college student.

“Being 17-years-old and taking college level courses on the SCF campus contributed to how fast I matured,” she said.

A tennis player, she was offered a couple of partial scholarships to go to college in Chicago and in Tennessee. Instead, her dad convinced her to finish her degree at SCF.

“I think a lot of people my age think they have to go away to college to become successful and land their dream job,” she said. “I knew I wanted a different college experience, and wanted to focus on graduating early with my A.A. and have my credits transfer to finish with my bachelor’s degree.”

While she enjoyed the college experience, she said she also put a lot of pressure on herself about what she was going to do with her future, because she really wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, even though she came from a line of journalists. Her grandfather, Tony Conboy, was a sports writer for the Bradenton Herald, and her father took the family on fabulous vacations by working as a travel writer when she was growing up. What finally convinced her to join the “family business” was a math class – and a speech class – at SCF.

“I realized that math wasn’t my strongest subject,” she said. “While thriving in a public speaking class, I decided to pursue a degree in communications.”

She said a speech class at SCF showed her she had talent as a public speaker and that she was at ease speaking in front of people. While still in college and waiting tables at Danny’s Pizzeria in Bradenton, she sent an email to Don Brennan, a sports anchor at ABC-7. She didn’t hear back from him immediately, so followed up, and he offered her a tour of the station. She stayed in contact and eventually got a paid internship with the station. It was during an election year, so Conboy volunteered to go to the candidates’ rallies, in addition to her other assignments.  

“I got paid to do all these cool things,” she said. “I had a front-row seat witnessing one of the most exciting presidential elections. I couldn’t believe it.”

While she never dreamed as a kid of going into broadcast journalism, she can’t think of anything she’d rather do now, especially with her role as a digital producer.

She uses Google Analytics to gauge where people are spending their time and how long they stick with a story. She also uses Crowd Tangle and other tools to follow the trends. She posts her own polls and questions to discover what people are talking about and is diligent about reading hundreds of Facebook comments on the ABC7 page. She uses that information on the set to talk about what’s trending. Being a local helps her tremendously, she said.

And going to SCF allowed her to stay local. It’s one of the things she loved about SCF. She said the class sizes were perfect, it was affordable, and she enjoyed the convenience of being able to stay in the area.

“I wanted to graduate early and get a jump start on my career, and SCF made that possible,” Conboy said. “And the best part of all was graduating debt-free.”

After completing her degree at SCF, Conboy graduated from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical communication.

Chloe Conboy

Chloe Conboy

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