For Dayna Roselli, getting up around 2:30 a.m. every weekday to host the 4 a.m. broadcast is the ideal job on television. The New York native, who began as a helicopter reporter at Channel 8 in 2004, makes no secret of wanting to continue in her current role.
"I love the morning shift," said Roselli, who has co-anchored "8 NewsNow This Morning," with Dave McCann since 2008.
"I wouldn't want to do any other shift," she said. "I like spending three hours, getting people off on the right foot and talking about things that are relevant to our viewers."
Roselli has also grown into one of the prominent entertainment reporters in Las Vegas. Recently, she's interviewed everyone from singer Jaymes Vaughan to Meridian from the Blue Man Group and actor Chazz Palminteri.
But what makes the entertainment beat different here than in most cities is that most of the celebrities Roselli profiles call Las Vegas home.
"The shows (at the casinos) are really big here and these people buy homes here and are part of our community," she said. "That's why we do entertainment stories and interviews. But, I think we've taken it a step further by saying, 'Let's get to know these people,' instead of just asking what they're wearing."
Given the chance, Roselli would definitely consider devoting more of her time to covering entertainment.
"They've been great (at Channel 8) letting me pitch ideas," she said. "I would like to do more entertainment reporting, but I like news, so I've got the best of both worlds at the moment."
Question: What attracted you to a career in television news?
Answer: I had always been interested in local news. I've always played up to the camera, but I was never great at speaking in public. I was on a couple of live shows ... and was always very comfortable in front of the camera. So I knew I wanted to pursue journalism. So when I looked at colleges, I made sure it had a television station and offered a communications degree.
Question: How did you get your first job in television?
Answer: What helped was I did internships. I did two of them when I was in college. When I graduated there was an opening ... for a weekend assignment editor job (in Jamestown, N.Y.). I thought, "Let me at least get my foot in the door. Then I can work on a tape, get my connections." So it all just fell into place.
Question: Is an internship a good way to get into television?
Answer: It's key, because you get to see the reality of the business. Sometimes people think it's so easy and glamorous. It's not. It's deadlines and making sure you have something interesting. So you have to see it firsthand. If you get that adrenaline rush, it means you want to do it. If you don't, well you might not want to.
Question: What's the television news business like in Las Vegas?
Answer: Here, it's finding more ways to present the story so it's simpler for people to understand. Now instead of longer-form stories, it's. "Let's start the story off with this quick piece of video and explaining what's going on," then we are going to toss it to the reporter and then they're going to go more in-depth. Finally, we are going to end the piece telling viewers where (they) can go to get more information.
Question: Describe your day. What time do you get to work each morning?
Answer: The show starts at 4 a.m. It used to be 5 a.m. when I first arrived in Las Vegas, then they moved it back to 4:30 a.m. and now it starts at 4 a.m. We come in about 3:30 a.m. to look over things and to see what is going on. Because when we are out there at 4 a.m., the 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. newscast is still being written. We have computers in our desks, so we read ahead at the breaks to keep up with what's going on. But we have a staff of writers and a producer for each hour. Then we also have an executive producer.
Question: What brought you to KLAS-TV in 2004?
Answer: I was working the weekend anchor job at the Fox affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., and I was kind of bored. I was the weekend anchor and I was alone. I saw an ad for a helicopter reporter in Las Vegas so I applied. I had never lived out West before. I thought, "Let me try this." So I applied because I knew the job was covering breaking news and traffic. That's what I wanted to do. They liked my tape and gave me the job. I was in the helicopter for two and a half years. I would fill in the studio, so they made me morning traffic anchor for a year and a half and then I would fill in at the news desk. When they made some changes there, they promoted me.
Question: Are you happy anchoring, or do you prefer reporting?
Answer: I love it. I also do entertainment stories. I get to pretty much do what I want so I can get out from time to time, which is pretty nice. ... I love the morning shift. I wouldn't want to do any other shift. I like spending three hours, getting people off on the right foot and talking about things that are relevant to our viewers. We are two different people. Dave (McCann) is married with five kids, and I'm single and on the Strip a lot. We both bring different perspectives to the morning news.
Question: What makes the entertainment beat different in Las Vegas?
Answer: I just think that it's just something people have an interest in. The shows are really big here and these people buy homes here and are part of our community. That's why we do entertainment stories and interviews.
Question: How has Las Vegas changed? You arrived during the boom and made it through the worst of the recession.
Answer: I just remember when I was in the helicopter as a reporter when I first got here, the pilot would always tell me stories of how (the city) ended at Rainbow (Boulevard). I was so amazed. I never thought it would be what it is today with the turnaround after the economy sank. I was shocked. What I've seen is people looking for more affordable things to do and finding creative ways to save money. I find this town geared a lot more towards locals than when I first arrived.
Question: Were you a big fan of Las Vegas before your move here?
Answer: I had visited about a year before I got the job. I've always liked Vegas. Some people visit Las Vegas and they just love it. I enjoyed myself, but I wasn't over the moon about it. ... I didn't want to come here for the location. I thought this was kind of weird, I'm going to be a helicopter reporter in Las Vegas. What are the odds of that? I remember thinking this was going to be an interesting ride. All the towns I worked in in upstate New York were so different.
Question: How different were Rochester. N.Y., and Las Vegas in 2004?
Answer: Where I came from in Rochester, N.Y., it was all about Kodak layoffs. So for me to come here it was so refreshing. I had never been to a place that was all about growth. To me that was the biggest difference when I first got here, it wasn't depressing it was exciting.
Question: What role do Twitter and Facebook play in your life? Are they just a way to keep in touch with viewers and friends or have they become a legitimate news source?
Answer: I would say Twitter is a news source that helps me. I could sit on it all day long, you just know what's going on and what people think about it. Doing a morning show, the big thing is, along with the news, is what are people talking about. That is Twitter. I used Facebook to interact with viewers to give them a personal side of me. They want to know more about the person who reads the news -- not too much, but enough.
Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at email@example.com or 702-477-3893.