Phernetton Speaks to Journalism Class


Mallory Kaster, Senior Staff Writer

Katie Phenetton 2Notre Dame graduate Katie Phernetton talked to NDA journalism students about her experiences as the CW14 Star on March 4.

Phernetton, who graduated from NDA in 2009, said her high school experiences helped her decide what she wanted to do in her future.

“I loved talking and getting to know everyone,” she said.

Phernetton was involved in Drama Club and Yearbook Staff at NDA. She was also in public performance, and was a Mr. NDA emcee.

Yearbook moderator and NDA English teacher Stefanie Jochman said Katie, who was on staff for about 2 years, was friendly to everyone and had a very positive presence in the lab.

“Katie was an editor; she helped to develop the theme and layouts of the book for her senior year,” Jochman said. “She was our unofficial ‘identifier’ before she joined the staff. My first two editors would bring group pictures to Katie and ask her who everyone was–and she knew!”

Phernetton’s experiences on camera began when her dad, who worked at the CP Center, convinced her to help host the facility’s annual telethon.

After hosting, Phernetton realized how much she loved being on camera, and the possibility of a similar future.

“I loved talking, and I never knew there could be a career in that until I talked to some broadcasters,” she said. “I just talked a lot, and I thought, ‘I can get paid to talk!’”

“Being curious about the world around me was what made it click,” she added.

From there, Phernetton attended Winona State for two years for broadcasting. Having transferred, Phernetton is currently a communications major at UW-Green Bay.

“I transferred because I wanted to be closer to family,” Phernetton said. “I could also get more internships here [in Green Bay].”

Phernetton interned at different TV stations for about two years before becoming the CW14 Star last March. She will remain in the position until March of 2015.

In order to qualify for the CW14 Star, Phernetton had to be able to think on her feet, and be able to relate to and interact with others.

“I basically have to be my own brand,” she said.

As the CW14 Star, Phernetton is the on-air personality for the station and is involved in marketing and commercial work.

“I do what’s called ‘One man banding’,” she said. “I write, shoot, interview and assemble on my own.”

Phernetton said it can be difficult sometimes but that it works for her.

“I personally do my best work under pressure,” she said.

Phernetton says one of her most memorable interviews was also one of her first.

“The most interesting person I have interviewed was the woman who played Nala in ‘The Lion King’ at the PAC last April,” she said.

Phernetton also recalled another memorable story. She was at an Appleton North high school football game covering a story about a special needs club at the school that gets involved in sporting events.

“It’s called the FAN club, Friends of Appleton North,” she said.

Phernetton loved seeing the looks on the faces of the special needs students at the game.

“You get to see a different side of things you never knew were out there,” she said.

Jochman said Phernetton is the perfect CW14 Star because she is outgoing, a proud Green Bay girl, media-savvy, open-minded, and funny.

“She is willing to try new things; she is kind to everyone she meets; she has a great sense of humor; she understands how media works,” Jochman said.

Jochman also recalls a time when Phernetton took a large risk that paid off.

“Katie tweeted a Packer player just to see if she could get him involved in a charity project she was working on for one of her communication classes at UWGB. The player or his agent saw the tweet, and the player agreed to join the project!” Jochman said. “Only someone like Katie, who is willing to take the risk and good-humored enough to withstand a possible failure, could succeed in an endeavor like that.”

Although Phernetton loves her job as the CW14 Star, she said her ultimate goal is to be in a bigger market.

“There are about 210 markets in the country, and Green Bay is ranked around 70th. My goal is to be in a top 15 market,” she said. “I would love to be in Chicago, but the market is extremely competitive.”

Phernetton said her dream news station would either be Fox Sports as a sideline reporter or E! as an affiliate on the red carpet.

Although a bigger market may be in Phernetton’s future, she loves being home in Green Bay.

“You get to see people [around town] who watch what you do and support you,” she said. “There’s that friendship you make.”

Phernetton says her daily schedule varies, but that it is always busy. She generally works from 8am-5pm every day, varying with different events and shoots.

She also continues with school, which fits in “tightly” she said.

Jochman said she is so proud of all that Phernetton has accomplished in the last few years.

“She is one of the kindest, friendliest, funniest, sunniest students I have had a chance to teach, and I’m happy to see how well things are going for her,” she said.

Phernetton is thankful for her NDA education, and said that the NDA core values will stick with you.

“Presenting yourself with strong character built at NDA will set you up for success,” she said.