TV news veteran now hosts teambuilding events
Darlynne Reyes Menkin
Extensive TV news career
Darlynne Reyes Menkin is a longtime broadcast journalist who moved from Philadelphia to sunny San Diego in 1990. It was a job opportunity at KFMB-TV that allowed Darlynne the opportunity to move out west. She was in the television industry for more than 22 years and during that time she was a writer, producer, reporter and anchor. At one point, she was a news director at a cable television operation in North San Diego County. In addition to anchoring in San Diego, she worked in New Hampshire, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas.
In 2003, she was appointed National Convention co-chair for the Asian American Journalists Association, which attracted 1,200 working journalists from around the country.
She eventually left TV news to start a tour company with her husband Marc. Where You Want To Be Tours is an award-winning company that specializes in unique tours and teambuilding activities such as Urban Challenge Scavenger Hunts. Their niche is showing off “hidden spots” that are off-the-beaten path. They've been featured on The Travel Channel, KUSI, KGTV, KSWB, XETV as well as The San Diego Union-Tribune, Coastal Magazine, the Los Angeles Times and Frommer’s. Where You Want To Be Tours was launched in July 2003 and started out as a company that created fun walking and biking tours. It later evolved and expanded to offering interactive bus tours, food tours, walking, hiking and biking tours. Its teambuilding division has received numerous awards including "Best Team Facilitator" by California Meetings and Events.
The company also has a video division, Where You Want To Be TV, which produces travel and lifestyle programming for print, online, broadcast and radio. Both Marc and Darlynne are travel writers and contribute to a number of travel publications.
Darlynne describes the helpful lessons she gained from her extensive TV news experience and explains how teambuilding is a useful tool for news organizations: NL: What are some of the lessons you learned during your broadcast career? DRM: Wow, there are so many lessons I learned. I was in broadcast news for over 21 years and during that entire time, I felt like I was in a classroom every day because I was constantly learning about journalism, life and ultimately myself as a person. One of the lessons I learned early on is that you have to be tenacious. If you want to be a good reporter and really stand out, you have to be willing to go the distance and go the extra mile. There were many nights when I stayed after my night reporting shift because I wanted to take the time to work on that sweeps piece or do more research. Whether you're a reporter, an editor or a producer, you have to be willing to put in the work. There are no shortcuts in journalism.
One of my friends gave me great advice when I was new at reporting. She said, “Really go for it. Put it out there so at the end of the day, you can honestly say you didn't hold back and you gave it your best shot.”
The other lesson I learned was the importance of resiliency. No matter how tough your day is (maybe a lead fell through and things just aren't going your way), the show must go on. You've got to be able to keep going, no matter what's going on behind the scenes.
NL: You have worked on both sides of the news desk. What news management experiences stand out in your mind?
DRM: I actually loved being a news director, which was such a surprise to me because at the time, I was focused on my goal of being a reporter. As a manager, I got to mold and shape young minds and really mentor them, and I absolutely loved that! I enjoyed helping people make their dreams come true. Thanks to that experience, it helped me in many ways to grow as a journalist and as a person. I didn't realize it at the time but that experience helped prepare me to be a business owner. NL: Please tell us a little about your career today. DRM: If someone would have told me years ago that eventually I would be running a tour and teambuilding business with my husband, I would have thought they were nuts! I really loved my career as a journalist and quite frankly, never saw myself other than being a reporter. My life today is so different but it's great and I wouldn't change it for anything. It really is amazing what can happen if you keep an open mind.
In 2003, my husband Marc and I started up Where You Want To Be Tours which specializes in unique tours of hidden San Diego and corporate teambuilding adventures. This year, we merged with another teambuilding company called Out of the Ordinary and it has been quite a ride! Once again, I feel like a student because I am constantly learning about the world of business.
Our company's goal is to “bring people to a better place.” We're all about offering adventures that are uplifting, encouraging, inspiring and FUN! So whether you're on one of our Scavenger Hunts, bike tours, Foodie Tours or Survivor Team Challenge, you're going to have a blast. I really do feel blessed to have this company!
NL: Based on both your broadcast career and your teambuilding experience, what advice would you give to newsroom managers about maintaining a unified and motivated team?
DRM: When I was in TV News, I had never heard of the concept of team building, but now I see how important it is, especially for industries like news outlets. News departments are made up of teams. It's crucial that editors, reporters, photographers and news managers can all work together. The news business can be very stressful because it's fast paced and demanding, so having a solid foundation is crucial. That's where a good teambuilding program can really help.