It was in the month of November, through a closed-circuit TV news program, that Stephen Burgard’s journalism career started. He was at the sea, aboard the USS Little Rock, with his high school newspaper and the college radio show. He is now the director of School of Journalism of the Northeastern University.
He was 22 when he joined the crew as an enlisted man. The ship’s chaplain asked him to outfit the guided missile cruiser with the TV system. He was asked to produce a ten-minute nightly news segment while cruising up and down the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. He worked in the ship’s mess but was extremely happy to be given the opportunity.
To work on this project, Burgard and a communication officer named Ray Mabus, worked together at the sea. They developed the program’s news format and editorial direction. They rehearsed the entire set up and then produced and presented it live. The work was hard as it included tearing various pages of news content that came in the ship’s radio room. He chose stories for TV’s broadcast and also for the ship’s newspaper.
Broadcasts like the updates of the Vietnamese war and US Politics were included and the news ended with a lighter content story. Burgard also produced the narration of the huge Atlantic storm at the sea that rocked and disturbed the course of the ship. While choosing the best stories, he said that the sports show had the highest ratings among the 900-member crew.
He will always remain thankful to this opportunity. He describes the voyage through Strait of Gibraltar when he looked at the blue sea through the window of the office. The BBC radio was on, he could hear the news echoing around him, and was mesmerised by the view of the rock of Gibraltar and that is when he said to himself, “This is what I want to do with my career.”