Alumni and Friends

What’s new? Ohio University Broadcast Meteorology Degree

In May, Erin Ashley was the first to graduate with Ohio University’s new Broadcast Meteorology degree, which combines science instruction in the College of Arts and Sciences with journalism coursework in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and broadcast experience at WOUB Public Media. In addition to her work at WOUB, she also worked as a forecaster at the Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Analysis.

After graduation, Ashley, a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, was hired as a meteorologist at WTVG (13abc) in Toledo, home of Scripps alumna/news anchor Kristian Brown. Scripps alum Ken Klein caught up with Ashley to find out more about new cross-discipline collaboration at Ohio University that offers a Broadcast Meteorology degree.

Klein: How does it work . . . this combo training in science, broadcasting and journalism?

Ashley: The degree program is through the College of Arts and Sciences. It combines core meteorology classes in Arts and Sciences and core journalism courses in Scripps. Students in the curriculum are encouraged to take advantage of working with WOUB Public Media, the regional PBS-affiliate, for on-air experience. As a student, I was lead forecaster at WOUB.

Erin Ashley LinkedIn

Klein: Is it possible to get a TV meteorology-reporting job with a journalism degree but without science training?

Ashley: No! Meteorologists are required to have meteorology degrees. This includes the meteorology curriculum and all those science-based classes. Ohio University’s specific degree basically takes the meteorology curriculum and tacks on a bunch of essential, skills-based courses in broadcast journalism.

Klein: From what you’ve seen in the job market, is the new joint Broadcast Meteorology degree at Ohio University commonplace or rare?

Ashley: From what I’ve seen, it’s rare. There are plenty of programs that offer a certificate or a “focus” in broadcast meteorology, whereas Ohio University offers it as a full-fledged degree. Since I was the first to graduate with it, it took some explaining to news directors about what sets me apart from anyone else with a meteorology degree, but it only boosted my resume considering my skills in reporting.

Erin Ashley WOUB
Erin Ashley at WOUB.

Klein: Ohio University/WOUB recently got new weather-reporting equipment. How important is this in preparing you and others for the job market?

Ashley: To be frank, the Intelliweather software has incredible potential. I believe that we have yet to explore the possibilities just because it takes time and trial. From my experience, it does more for students looking to improve their storytelling because it currently isolates forecasting from the process. I think as students are able to work with the program more, it will only continue to prepare forecasters for the job market.

June 14, 2023
Ken Klein