Shining in the limelight
Jenna Browder making fast ascent in broadcast news
Times Staff Writer
Originally published 2013-03-21
Jenna Browder has never had a problem thriving in the limelight.
And while that light was cast upon her from an early age by her abilities to excel in the arena of athletics and academics, it’s her profound ability to understand people that has taken her to a front row seat on the news.
“When she was in high school, it didn’t bother her one bit to jump in front of class and give a speech or presentation,” said her mother, Chris Browder. “She’s always liked to be the center of attention, to be honest.”
After graduating from Gunnison High School in 2007, Jenna went on to attend college for one year at the University of Denver, before her interests led her to transfer to University of Colorado at Boulder (CU).
It was while attending classes in Boulder that Jenna was first exposed to working in television production. Along with creating content for the CU Sports Mag — which aired stories on Fox College Sports — she began reporting and anchoring productions with the CU Science Update and with News Team Boulder.
“Journalism is something that I’ve always been interested in,” said Jenna. “I always liked history and English ... those are the classes that I was better at growing up.”
It didn’t take long for her to begin earning the attention of others in her field either. After graduating from CU, in 2011, she earned her first award as part of a production team — a Heartland Emmy, given out by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
By the time she accepted the award, Jenna had also already accepted her first real job in the news business. In June 2011, she was hired by CBS 5 News Channel out of Cheyenne, Wyo., where she has worked since as the anchor for the weekend news and a reporter during the weekdays.
According to Jenna, her fast ascent into the world of broadcast journalism has run right alongside many large steps being made in understanding and ability.
“Even when I watch stuff from the first year that I was in Cheyenne, it’s amazing to see how much I’ve learned,” said Jenna. “I’ve grown a lot here and it’s been a great place to hone my broadcasting skills.”
Apparently, those skills were pretty good to begin with. After only her first year on the job, the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters named Jenna the “Best Anchor” in the state and she also picked up second-place honors in the category of “Best Reporter.”
“I didn’t expect to win anything, so it was a big surprise and a huge honor,” said Jenna. “That was one of the biggest things to ever happen in my career.”
In the next three weeks, she’ll find out about the results from the 2012 Wyoming Association of Broadcasters awards.
According to high school English teacher Jody Coleman, Jenna had an apparent ability to understand the world around her, and the people within it, from an early age.
“Jenna’s less observable but most impressive quality to me is her innate understanding of people,” Coleman wrote in an e-mail to the Times. “She has an uncanny perception regarding human motivation, and she can read people well.”
Jenna gives all the credit for her success to growing up in a tight-knit family environment. Even so, as a twin and one of four sisters in the family, her interest in journalism made her somewhat of an exception to the siblings that surrounded her.
Her twin sister, Ali, is about to graduate from Colorado School of Mines with a double major and a minor, en route to a management position in the oil and gas industry. Her older sister Kelly is an optometrist, while her other older sister, Abby, is a civil engineer.
“The other three girls were always more into math and science, but Jenna always fell towards liberal arts and just had different interests,” said mother Chris. “I was glad that they felt they could each go their separate direction and excel in their own area.”
Jenna said her contract with CBS 5 will be up in June, at which time she plans on moving on to greener pastures. She’s already hired an agent based out of Houston, Texas, that is throwing plenty of offers her way.
“It all depends on what’s available and what stations are looking for,” said Jenna. “It’s a little scary, because I have no idea right now where I’ll end up.”
(Matt Smith can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or email@example.com)