Mike LaCrosse '10 had always aspired to become a reporter for his hometown area and deliver news to those he grew up with within the community. Now, as a reporter for WBZ-TV, he is achieving his goals daily. "Thinking back to my UMass Journalism days, I wanted to get where I am now," LaCrosse said.
From his hometown of Waltham, Massachusetts, LaCrosse was always interested in telling stories and video production. He started at UMass Amherst as a political science major but later declared journalism as a double major. During his time at UMass, he gained practical experience that would later help his professional journey.
He recalled one piece of advice from Professor Karen List that has stuck with him. "Her advice was to shift away from the notion of thinking of a story from just two sides and instead consider multiple perspectives. "It's not just Democrats and Republicans; it's Democrats, Republicans, and everything in between," LaCrosse said as an example.
He was eager to get real-world experience as soon as possible and got his first internship in the TV business at WCVB Channel 5. However, it required persistence and dedication. "I was hounding them," admitted LaCrosse. Despite having no internship opportunities left, they took on LaCrosse for weekend mornings; maybe not ideal for a typical college student during summer break, but he was grateful for opportunities wherever he could get them. LaCrosse learned how to write for news/TV during this internship.
After that, he was able to land two other internships while at UMass, working for the ABC affiliates in Springfield. "That's where I was able to take the fundamentals I learned at UMass and put them into practice," LaCrosse said.
After graduating, LaCrosse stayed close to home, working both in Springfield and Rhode Island. Eventually, he landed his dream job at WBZ-TV, where he has worked for the last four to five years. It was a full-circle moment for LaCrosse as he recalls driving by the studios when he was younger.
LaCrosse talked about his experience at CBS Boston, what this means for him, and a memorable story he reported on. "To tell stories where I grew up, tell stories to people that are my family members, my friends, people that I might not know, but I might have grown up with is my greatest accomplishment thus far," LaCrosse said. One of his favorite stories he reported on was one that he scouted out himself on FaceBook. The story was about a teacher who didn't have service while teaching remotely, so he rented a van and traveled to different locations to access service. He showed his students virtual settings and tied in virtual field trips, such as beach trips to teach science lessons.
LaCrosse parted with some advice for other journalism students in the Journalism Department. "Just keep asking questions," LaCrosse said.This profile was written as a part of the 2021 Alumni Spotlight Series by students in the Writing for Public Relations course.