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Vaughn is morning report for TV station

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Manteca Youth Focus Alum and San Francisco State graduate Matt Vaughn reports from a fire station in Chico.

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POSTED November 8, 2012 1:44 a.m.

There’s a good chance that you’ve seen Matt Vaughn before.

It might have been as an emcee at the Boys and Girls Club Telethon – where with Rat Pack cool he anchored the community stage with equal parts performance talent and on-camera charisma.

It might have been at a community theater production where he channeled his thespian roots and tackled challenging roles that gave him the sort of satisfaction that only stepping out underneath the house lights could provide.

Or it might have been at any one of the hundreds of Manteca Youth Focus appearances he made while serving in a variety of roles with the scholarship organization.

Today it’s the people of Chico that get the chance to see him every morning on the local NBC and CBS affiliates as part of their morning news program – his first official on-camera job after graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

The Bulletin caught up with Vaughn for a Q&A session to see how life is going in the North State and to find out how life is different in front of the camera:

With the exception of the college, Chico is a small, family-oriented community in Northern California – not unlike Manteca. Was it easy to make that transition?

“I felt like it was pretty easy to fit in here. It’s a whole lot different except for the college – which is a big part of the culture and the makeup of the community. But coming from San Francisco it was nice to move into a community with a small, hometown feel. When I was at school I had my eyes opened to a lot of different cultures and a completely different way of life and I do miss it, but it was a lot like home when I moved up here.”

With your extensive background in performing, was it easy to make the transition in front of the camera?

“It was different, not necessarily easy. All of that feeder work and performing helped within my comfort level in terms of being in front of people and speaking off the cuff. And it really helped me get over my nerves. I credit not just my experience performing or with theater but in helping with the Boys and Girls Club Telethon because that was my first exposure to live TV – there are no do-overs with that. It’s not like you can just go back and edit it out. It was one of those things where I got in front of the camera and my adrenaline was pumping and it just did it for me. Plus I liked writing stories so being able to mesh the two seemed perfect.”

How do you like your steak cooked?

“Medium well. Not too done.”

Do you miss performing?

“I do. There are things that I always kind of have on the backburner and if there’s an opportunity I’ll go for it. If there’s a theater project or a chance to sing somewhere, I’ll try to incorporate that into my life as much as I can. But the demand on my time in this job makes that hard to do sometimes. It takes a lot of dedication. So sometimes I’ll try to incorporate it into work – there’s a casino that has live karaoke and I’ll get out there and do a little bit of singing on air. I’ll try and tie it into everyday life as best I can.”

What is something that not a lot of people know about you?

“I’m not really a morning person. And that’s hard in this job because I have to be 3:30 a.m. and that can be difficult. I try not to let it show and have as much energy as I can when I’m on the air, but the hardest thing in the world for me to do is to get out of bed every morning.”

What is something you didn’t realize about your job until you started it?

“It’s kind of depressing, and it’s one of those things that you don’t really think about until you have to do it, but sometimes you have to cover stories where people have died. Fatal car accidents and things like that. I should have known that it would come up sooner or later. It’s one of those things that always sticks with you. Sometimes you have to cover these really horrific stories and it’s unsettling and really difficult to see – you see how the families are affected and people that may have lost somebody that was really close to them. It comes with the territory and the job and you just have to deal with it. You don’t like to or want to cover things like that, but sometimes you have to.”

Do you like milk or orange juice with your breakfast?

“OJ. I like milk on my cereal, but I’m an OJ guy.”

What do you enjoy most about what you get to do everyday?

“The interaction with the people. In the mornings I get to go out into the field and learn about a lot of different things. It’s the best life experience that I’ve had anywhere. I’ve gotten to go up in a glider, gotten to go up in a stunt plane and get whipped around and go inverted like Top Gun and gotten to fly like Peter Pan – we were doing these live shots on an upcoming production and I got rigged up in wires and got to fly around. It’s one of the best jobs in the world. I get the chance to do something cool every day.”

Last book you read?

“The Hunger Games. That’s what all the hype was about at the time.”

Where do you want to be in five years?

“My goal has always been to move up the ladder and into bigger markets, and hopefully by then I will have enough experience to move on to Bakersfield or Fresno or even Sacramento. It’s going to take a lot of work and patience and hopefully in 10 years, who knows, maybe I’ll end back up in the Bay Area. That would be great.”

What are your hobbies outside of work?

“Fortunately I’m lucky with where I live now – wakeboarding and snowboarding are easy things to do up here. There are lots of places for that. I just like to get outside and be active, whether that’s going to the gym and working out or getting together with other guys from the station and playing sports. So far we’ve had a soccer team and an ultimate Frisbee team.”

Is there a key to being successful in your given trade?

“I think having a passion for the place you’re at is huge. I think in terms of coming across as genuine when you’re on the air, you really have to love where it is you’re at and what you’re doing there. I’m fortunate that I’m on mornings because I can be a little bit lighter in the mornings – have a little bit of fun with it. But you get the opportunity to meet a lot of cool people and do things for people that need help – whether it’s raise money to help them with their hospital bills or benefit kids in local schools. It gives you a sense of what you’re doing is rewarding and it helps, and it shows that we care about the community that we’re representing.”

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