Q&A with Forbes entertainment journalist, ISU alum Jeff Conway

From interviewing motion picture stars to conference pop culture icons on the purple carpet, every single day on the occupation is diverse for Redbird alum Jeff Conway ‘08. Not only is he living his aspiration as an entertainment journalist, but he also gets to fulfill and job interview his favored stars.

Jeff Conway with his moms and dads Mike and Cheryl Conway at the Chicago/Midwest Emmys in 2017 when Jeff was nominated for Outstanding System Host.

Conway has been an enjoyment reporter for 14 many years and currently writes for Forbes as a senior contributor in the Hollywood and Leisure area.

When the Schaumburg indigenous arrived at Illinois State, he very first joined WZND radio as a information and climate reporter and later on produced leisure items for Television set-10.

Conway credits Tv-10’s Laura Trendle Polus ’87, M.S. ’00, and Bob Carroll ’89, ’94, M.S. ’15, and WZND’s Deb Lesser ’83, M.S. ’84, who impacted his experience as a Faculty of Interaction pupil and served create the foundation for his expert career.

“They realized I needed to go into entertainment, and they respected that—it intended a great deal to me,” Conway mentioned. “It was nice to have academics who supported what I wished to do and in which I am now.”

Soon after graduating from ISU with a Bachelor of Arts in interaction, Conway labored his way up from intern to the sole producer of the leisure tv clearly show 24/7 on NBC5 in Chicago, the place he usually interviewed celebs on the purple carpet.

He continued to perform in Chicago as a host and producer for privately-owned Comcast channels, which include Lifestyle Inventive Community, the place Conway was nominated for an “Outstanding Method Host” award at the Chicago Emmys in 2017 for his on-digicam achievements. Past that, Conway has also been the style and entertainment editor for Candid Journal, which was a publication dependent in London, and served as the director of multimedia for Chicago Scene, where he highlighted town activities and superstar interviews.

“COVID-19 transpired, and almost everything shut down—all the pink carpets were nonexistent,” Conway explained. “But I desired to retain carrying out journalism. It would devastate me to not do my enthusiasm and what I went to university for.”

Conway persevered by pursuing an opportunity with Forbes.

“They vetted me for about two months, but I finally obtained accredited to sign up for their staff and it has been wonderful,” Conway mentioned. “A few months back, I surpassed a million webpage sights in beneath 18 months. The Forbes title will help me and I’m grateful for it, but it is my tenacity and creativity that gets these interviews.”

Conway continued with more about his profession as an entertainment reporter now in Los Angeles.

Notify me about an average working day for you.

Correct now, I’m crafting my job interview with Blake Energetic and my special with her and her Betty Excitement non-alcoholic mixer drinks—it was a hilarious, entertaining, and educational discussion. I transcribed that movie interview and then wrote an write-up all around her quotes. I booked Lindsay Lohan for an distinctive interview, but I’ll get started composing my thoughts and accomplishing my analysis about anything Lindsay is executing with her new podcast referred to as The Lohdown. Each individual day is different, but I like it that way.

How did you get into leisure journalism?

I liked films and entertainment. I would enjoy these celeb interviews by these journalists, and I believed they had been so robotic and impersonal. I imagined these interviews were being pretty organization-like. I felt like there was a thing in me that knew I could talk to these men and women in a friendlier tone and with very carefully crafted thoughts that would make them truly feel snug more than enough to overlook this is business enterprise. It is about two close friends or strangers talking at two finishes of the bar—that’s the variety of mentality I try to have with all of my interviews and it has labored out. I’m a human very first and a journalist next.

  • A journalist interviewing a person.
  • A journalist interviewing a person
  • Three people posing together
  • Two people posing together

Who was your most loved interview and why?

Channing Tatum has to be one of my favorites—he’s just a amazing guy and quite humble and playful. Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth is just one of the coolest individuals I’ve ever met—she’s loving, exciting, and genuinely enthusiastic about life, which as an interviewer, I appreciate. Matt Damon, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Downey Jr., Sam Heughan, and Chrishell Stause have been some of my favourite interviews, as properly.

If there is just one movie star on your checklist that you have constantly needed to interview but haven’t, who would it be?

Meryl Streep mainly because she’s a chameleon when it comes to her acting operate and I just appreciate her for it. I’m also intrigued by Julia Roberts, Rachel McAdams, and Mariah Carey because she owns Xmas.

It’s really hard for me to assume about that mainly because I have interviewed most of my aspiration people today. E-mail just after e-mail of making an attempt to get to the ideal individuals has bought me where I wished due to the fact I was respectful and consistent. I created my individual goals happen and I’m satisfied about that.

How did Illinois Point out enable you?

ISU aided me locate these retailers to convey myself and produce at an early age. Tv-10 and WZND ended up outlets open to me and weren’t overly competitive, which was nice due to the fact I was able to do what I wanted. Colleges like Illinois Point out allow you to grow and build a a lot more open up setting with an available curriculum that will allow you to discover your correct contacting. I loved ISU and nonetheless appear back again on it so fondly.

What are interviewing tips you’d like to give?

Do your exploration and know nearly anything and every little thing you can. Double-examine sources and accuracy due to the fact you don’t want to be incorrect. Also, imagine exterior the box. My instructors at ISU would agree—if so numerous people are in the similar marketplace, you’re not likely to make it if you really don’t stand out in some ability. Glimpse at your expertise and see what tends to make you stand out—then use it to your edge.