Lane Russell '20 is the Executive Producer at CNY Central where he oversees newscasts on three television stations.
Lane Russell '20 is the Executive Producer at CNY Central where he oversees newscasts on three television stations.

Professionally speaking, Onondaga Community College Alumnus Lane Russell '20 is climbing the ladder of success quickly. Just three months ago he was named the Executive Producer of CNY Central, the local television news hub on James Street in Syracuse which includes stations WSTM 3, WTVH, 5, and CW6. As Executive Producer, he oversees the content of newscasts on all three stations. "Lane is one of the youngest journalists ever promoted to a news leadership position, but he is as worthy as anyone I've ever considered," said CNY Central News Director Sean Carroll. "His leadership and knowledge is helping our newsroom grow as Central New York's largest content center, creating impactful and engaging content on all linear and digital platforms."

Russell is a 2015 graduate of West Genesee who says he was an "awful student" in high school. After receiving his diploma, he went to work. His interest in video and photography eventually brought him to OCC and what was then called the Electronic Media Communications degree program. "The most valuable thing I learned at OCC is that learning can be fun and I could do something for a career that I enjoyed. I enjoy and find purpose in what I am doing now, and I found it originally at OCC."

One of the hallmarks of OCC's Broadcast Media Communications program is that students receive hands-on training from day one. Russell's initial experiences in the on-campus television studios had an immediate impact on him. "Being able to start out with studio productions, I developed a love of studio work in college." He was so energized by his coursework he earned membership in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society which requires a minimum 3.5 grade point average. And during his final semester at OCC Russell was named the top student in his degree program. He completed his degree in the spring of 2020 and transferred to SUNY Oswego's Broadcast and Mass Communication program.

During his time as a college student Russell did two internships in the television news industry. His first was at WSYR TV Newschannel 9, and it ended prematurely due to Covid. His second was at CNY Central during his final semester at SUNY Oswego. That internship also ended prematurely when Russell was hired as a Newscast Producer. In May 2022, he completed his bachelor's degree at SUNY Oswego and went to work full-time.

Two years later he became CNY Central's Executive Producer, the position he currently holds. As he work with News Producers to make their newscasts as good as possible, he's also working on improving his impact on others. "The number one thing I want is to be a better leader. Everyone has had a 'it's my way or the highway' boss. I don't believe in that. I think a leader's job is to give their team the tools and the resources to do the best they can. I'd rather see them shine in the spotlight than have the spotlight for myself."

Russell is extremely proud of his organization's role in the community. Whether they are hosting a town hall meeting on the Onondaga Lake Parkway which led to safety-related changes, or investigating viewer concerns with their award-winning "I-Team," he enjoys being part of a difference-making effort in his hometown. "Making a positive impact is very rewarding. It's super motivating to see changes in the place where I grew up. And it's great to help give people a voice who are going up against a company or government who won't give them the time of day."

He feels fortunate to have found his career, and to be surrounded by a team of people with similar goals. "Being able to apply what I learned at OCC into something that ends up on the airwaves everyday is an enjoyable workflow. And I enjoy being able to work with to many different people are part of a team. Especially here where there are OCC people in every part of our organization."

Onondaga Community College
SUNY Oswego
CNY Central