By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart
For thousands of Southern Tier residents, an evening at home is not complete without Scott Sasina (LACM ’13), co-anchor of 12 News, and his nightly broadcast. While most viewers know that Sasina deeply enjoys reporting the local, national, and global news to the community that raised him, many do not know that Sasina’s passion for communications, TV broadcasting, and journalism was first fostered at SUNY Broome. The proud alum credits the foundation of his impressive career to the hands-on curriculum and dedicated instruction from SUNY Broome’s Communications and Media Arts: A.S. program.
Scott Sasina was born and raised in Endicott, NY. After graduating from Union-Endicott High School in 2010, Sasina followed many of his classmates to SUNY Broome. He first entered the Civil Engineering Technology: A.A.S. program, but after two semesters studying architectural drawing and construction methods and management, he realized that it was not the right fit. After meeting with an academic advisor, Sasina was encouraged to explore his options within the Liberal Arts division. As a naturally confident and charismatic public speaker, Scott registered for the class, “TV Production.” While he initially gravitated toward working behind the camera in video and production, the class needed a volunteer to serve as anchor.
“Scott was immediately at ease in front of the camera and working with the teleprompter. As soon as he finished, the whole room was silent. We all were in awe,” said Timothy J. Skinner, Professor and Chairperson of the Communications and Media Arts department.
Sasina was so impressive on and off air, that Professor Chris Keaty encouraged him to apply for a production assistant and videographer position at FOX 40 News WICZ-TV. As a fulltime student, Sasina spent every off moment working for FOX 40 behind the scenes in video production. After expressing an interest in presenting on-air, Sasina began working as a weekend reporter, a position he maintained throughout his undergraduate career.
Scott couldn’t wait to continue his education in the field. Thanks to a specialized articulation agreement established between SUNY Broome and SUNY Oswego, Sasina and a cohort of SUNY Broome classmates were able to transfer seamlessly with junior status.
“I felt very comfortable in my classes and in the student-run television studio at SUNY Oswego. I even felt like I was ahead because of the foundation that I received from instructors like Silvia Briga, Ed Evans, Chris Keaty, and Tim Skinner. Every class that I took at SUNY Broome required me to learn a skill and then apply it to industry.”
During Sasina’s final semester at SUNY Oswego, he received an invitation to join the team at WBNG-TV. He had signed a reporter contract and had an official plan to return to the Southern Tier long before he graduated. Life couldn’t be better!
During his slightly under a decade tenure at WBNG-TV, Sasina has held many roles. His audience first got to know him as a multimedia journalist, out in the community reporting on local news and assisting with sports highlights. From there, mornings started with Sasina as anchor, briefing viewers on the leading stories. Now, the people of the Southern Tier tune in to WBNG-TV at dinnertime and before bed to hear a recap of the day via Sasina as the co-anchor of the evening news. Scott’s innovative writing and reporting, coupled with his simple professional philosophy to deliver the facts in an unbiased manner, has made him a who’s who amongst New York broadcasters. He has been recognized with five awards from the New York State Broadcasters Association, including Outstanding Spot News, Outstanding Breaking News Coverage, Outstanding Morning Newscasts (twice), and Outstanding Social Media Personality.
Over the years, Scott’s time in broadcast news has helped him cultivate some interesting bonus skills. Sasina can easily adjust his sleep schedule to fit the 24 hour news cycle, he has flawlessly mastered applying the “no make up” look, and has become a connoisseur of men’s ties (and particularly how to match them to his co-anchors outfit for each on-air appearance.)
Sasina is a firm believer in positive reinforcement, especially for new professionals in such a fast-paced, stressful industry as broadcasting. Early in his career, kind words from seasoned professionals were what kept him going, so each day, Sasina makes an effort to return that encouraging spirit, especially to students from his alma mater, SUNY Broome. Many SUNY Broome students are interns or employees at the station, and some are even past students of Sasina’s. (Sasina spent a few years as an adjunct instructor in the Communications and Media Arts department.) In a true “support the College that supported me” mission, Scott is deeply honored to serve as a volunteer for SUNY Broome’s Foundation.
While some anchors may wish to relocate regularly to broadcast to larger markets, Sasina sees the value in staying connected to his roots. As a student, Scott was most influenced by broadcasters like Jim Ehmke, Candace Chapman, and Greg Catlin, who thrived professionally in broadcasting in their home of the Southern Tier.
“I distinctly remember watching a story by the great Jim Ehmke of News Channel 34 where he interviewed his neighbor on the first day of elementary school. He then did a follow up story 12 years later when that same boy was starting his first day of his senior year. It made a huge impact on me then, and still does. It’s all about being immersed in this area. I was and always am inspired by Jim and his commitment to our region. This has always been my community and I love that I can do my part to support it,” Sasina shared.
Read more encouraging and inspiring stories about SUNY Broome’s current and past students in the latest edition of BROOME Magazine!