When Phil Lipof was attending Syracuse University, he planned to become an English teacher. Little did he know that he would first become a TV reporter and then the news anchor on NBC10 Boston.
The 46-year-old Lipof, who grew up in Newton, shared his story at “Pizza, Press & Politics,” a weekly speaker series sponsored by the Northeastern University School of Journalism.
Lipof discussed how he did not major in journalism but when he started working at a local student news station at Syracuse, he was “hooked.” Lipof described how school is important but experience is key to a reporter’s development.
“Use your gut, which was built in school, and go with your gut,” he said.
Lipof has reported on many major stories, including 9/11, the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut, and the Boston Marathon bombings, but it took time to work his way up to covering big stories. Lipof started his journalism career working for free at a local cable access station in Newton.
Lipof has worked in Idaho, Miami, and New York. About New York, he said, “You either love or hate New York, and I fell in love with it.” However, while there, he was offered the job as a main anchor for NBC Boston and didn’t want to turn down the opportunity.
Lipof also gave advice to the audience of aspiring journalists, especially for those interested in TV news.
When it comes to interviewing, Lipof said, “the hardest thing is to be yourself,” meaning that it’s important to create a human connection when speaking with others.
“If you approach [the interviewee] as a human, seven out of 10 times they will treat you as a human,” he said.
He focuses on his physical fitness, as he said “Look is part of the business.” Lipoff described how he exercises six days a week and does “a bunch of cardio, a bunch of weights.”
He said some other highlights of his career were interviewing Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin.
One of Lipof’s final pieces of advice was “We are all storytellers, and that’s what the job is about.”