By Erin Crowell
When it comes down to it, TV 7&4 news reporter Marc Schollett knows more
about algae than his career but you would never know that from his
numerous journalism awards from the Associated Press, The Michigan
Association of Broadcasters, the National Television News Directors
Association and the Seven Seals Award from the United States Army Reserve.
In fact, the closest Schollett has ever gotten to his degree focus in
freshwater ecology was with his news series, Water Watch, which earned
him an award from the Sierra Club as well as the Society of Environmental
Schollett can add a new accolade he was recently voted Best Broadcast
Journalist by Northern Express readers in the 2011 Readers Choice
CHANGE OF PLANS
Im shocked. You know we serve the viewers, but sometimes you forget that
it leaves this room, says Schollett as he sits in his usual spot behind
the shiny, lacquered news desk between shows.
When looking back on his 14 years in broadcasting, Schollett can only
explain his inadvertent stumbling onto the winners podium as this:
I remember what its like to be a viewer.
Its through that connection that Schollett believes he has found success.
Familiarity, he adds, saying people like to see what they know.
They turn on the TV every evening and see me. Its just Marc, he says
an explanation to himself as much as anything.
Schollett majored in biology at the University of Michigan then later
earned his Masters in freshwater ecology at Loyola University in Chicago,
leaving the biggest question Why broadcast journalism?
When my wife, Val, and I first moved to Northern Michigan, we were
looking through the newspaper for jobs any job that I thought I would be
remotely interested in. ABC 29&8 had posted a position to work in their
control room. I was the person who put the commercials into the deck and
Six to eight weeks after I started, the on-air person left and they
needed someone to quickly fill in the spot, so they asked, Marc, you want
to try? That Monday I started.
With just one communications class at U of M, Schollett credits his luck
to a stellar interview. He spent two years at the sister station,
getting his broadcast education in everything from news and sports to film
editing and weather before transferring to 7&4 in September 1999.
SCHEDULING THE IMPORTANT THINGS
Schollett now co-anchors the weekday 7&4 News at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.; but a
typical work day goes beyond a handful of hours in front of the camera.
I normally come in right around noon and spend most of the afternoon
shooting the Fact Finder stories, making calls, setting up stories and
finding information, says Schollett. We do a lot of driving for stories
since our coverage is 25 counties. Yesterday I spent four hours in the car
before the five oclock show. You can solve the worlds problems and write
a script in that amount of time.
At 6:30, Schollett loosens his tie and climbs back into the car this
time to cover the most important part of his day.
I go home and have dinner with my wife and kids, he says. Then its
back to the station between 7:30 and 8:00, editing the Fact Finder, making
more phone calls then doing the 11 oclock news. Im willing to make the
day longer if that means I can go home and have dinner with my family.
Thats really important to me.
Its an evening dream schedule to most people, but dont think Schollett
uses his mornings to sleep in late.
This morning I went for a little run and went 16 miles, he says modestly.
I use my mornings to train, so its not much of an interference, he adds
about his goal to complete the Madison Ironman in September in under 14
hours, the endurance triathlon composed of a 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike
ride and 26.2 mile run; its an attainable goal considering Schollett
already has one Ironman under his belt (Louisville 2008), along with 14
At 39-years-old, Schollett is lean and lanky, the tell-tale body of a
distance runner. Completing a marathon in every U.S. state is another
goal of his, as if there wasnt enough news to report in his life.
Schollett says there are a couple steps that make his ambitions easier.
Step one, you have to have a very supportive family and a great wife, he
smiles. Second, you have to find balance. I dont have six or seven hours
a day to train; but I will take 60 to 80 weeks instead of 40 to do it.
Job endurance is another goal. While other reporters may leave to find
larger markets, Schollett says his home is Northern Michigan; and the
Massachusetts-born slash multi-state transplant (hes lived everywhere
from Chicago and Indianapolis to London and Australia) believes theres no
place like home.
I can see myself doing this for as long as theyll let me. When they
first let me on the air, my wife and I taped the first four months of
shows with the mindset that any day I would be fired. We wanted the
absolute best to show our kids when dad used to be on TV. But, at one
point I finally said, Okay, we can stop taping.
Would Schollett ever consider leaving given the chance to work with algae?
After a brief yet thoughtful pause, he flashes that familiar smile that
appears in living rooms throughout the region.
No. I wouldnt take it. The hours might be better, but I really love what
I do. When they were really young, my kids thought it was cool that dad
came out of the same box as Spongebob, but now my kids get to see dads
going to work and has a little spring in his step. I love to be that
example that there is something for everyone out there, even if you
didnt plan on it. Your job doesnt have to be a job.