Deanna Fry Talks to NABJ-IUB Members about Creating a Brand

By Aaricka Washington

When you “Google” yourself, what comes up? Your Facebook? Your party pictures? Your fashion blog?

Deanna Fry, a television producer at Indianapolis’ WTHR, asked members of the IU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists these questions at the group’s meeting last week.

nabj group
Photo by Felicia Ford
WTHR producer Deanna Fry, seated, center, talked to the IU chapter of NABJ Oct. 2. She advised members on creating a brand and using social media.

In her talk, Fry, BAJ’06,  outlined suggestions for students navigating social media and ways to turn social media into a branding tool. She emphasized the importance of a strong online presence, even for younger college students.

“I don’t care if you’re a freshman or a senior, it’s time to start branding yourself,” she said.

Using as an example her own online presence on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and her websites, Fry outlined a number of tips.

First, protect your online presence.

“You are your best PR person,” she said. “You have to protect your image. You have to make sure your image is squeaky clean. Whether you’re running for office or trying to get a job, you need to be that pristine on the Web.”

Second, Facebook is not for party photos.

“They should never exist on the Internet, because news directors and employers are Googling you,” she warned. “If they see those pictures, sorry, no job for you.”

Next, create a LinkedIn profile.

“If you want to prepare for the business world, you want to have a site listing your qualifications,” she said.  Complete your profile and make sure you edit it well, she advised.

Next, create your own website. You can create a website for free on a number of sites, including Word Press and Blogger, Fry said.

“It impresses employers and makes you more accessible to them if you have your portfolio, including your resume, in one central location,” she said.

Then, buy your domain name.

“It’s $10 on That helps make you a brand,” Fry said. “If someone has your name on dot com, you can get dot net or other suffixes.”

Create synergy with your professional social network sites.

“Have a photographer friend take a professional headshot of you and place it on all your social network sites,” she said. “You should make sure that all your sites have the same identity.”

Photo by Felicia Ford
Fry also talked about sometimes being the only black decision maker at the station. She encouraged members to pursue careers that would add more people of color to decision-making jobs.

Fry ended the discussion by talking about the realities of the broadcast industry.

“Even now, in 2012, people of color have to strive to be better, much much better, than our colleagues,” she said.

She implored the group to think about positions other than being on-air talent. “There are a number of positions in television,” the producer said. “We need more decision makers of color. Reporters don’t make the decisions. Producers decide what reporters cover every day.”

Fry drew on her own career to encourage the members to get involved and to look ahead.

“I am the only black decision maker at WTHR; sometimes I lose,” she said. “I want to see more African Americans, Latinos, Asians making decisions and controlling our image.”


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