Jason Wert’s interest in radio started when he was six years old. “My grandfather has cassette tapes of me doing play-by-play of Pittsburgh Steelers games. There was something about the reach of radio that fascinated and resonated with me,” he says. Wert’s first job in radio started with a high school internship at a local radio station. “They were like ‘Yeah, you love this, you should start working with us,’ and so I did. I wanted to learn everything about the business.” In his current job, Wert serves as a Senior Correspondent and Assignment Editor at USA Radio Networks.
Working in different cities across the country has helped Wert hone his reporting style. “I get the facts, and give people the facts. I generally don’t change that, but I might change the tone of the sentences to be in line with the culture of the local community. You have to realize who you are communicating with and bring them the news in a way that will resonate with them,” he explains. Having had the opportunity to work at stations with different formats, Wert says he’s most enjoyed working at News Talk Information stations. “Music stations have news, but they report it in different ways. With News/Talk stations, news is the meat and potatoes and everyone has the same mindset. Put me in a newsroom with a bunch of other news geeks and I’m happy as a clam.”
In his reporting, Wert finds himself using social media platforms like Twitter as a tool to find more information on sources. “I use social media to point me in the right direction. For example, I’ll use it find people who are experts in a particular field,” he explains. Wert makes a constant effort to ensure that his reporting as unbiased as possible.
When he isn’t on the air, Wert loves spending time with his family and getting outside. “I love driving and spending time outside soaking everything in. In news, so much that we deal with is bad, so to get away and just watch some fish in the river brings me back to life.” An avid reader, Wert enjoys classic novels such as The Great Gatsby, and finds a lot of power in the writing.
Wert says the one piece of advice he would give to a young journalist is to be honest. “Reporting news is not as simple as people think it is. Present the facts and only the facts, you have nothing to apologize for.”