Matt Landers '09 is a Television News Photographer who was always fascinated with Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. A fellow Onondaga Community College alumnus helped him realize his lifelong dream of living and working there.
When Niko Tamurian '05 left his position as Sports Director at CNY Central in Syracuse for KOMO-TV in Seattle, he told the Chief Photographer at his new station about Landers whom he had worked with in Syracuse. Landers applied for a job there, went through the interview process, and by November was working at the same station as Tamurian. "It's a little bigger here and a little faster here, but it's still the same fundamentals and basic principles. I'm taking the baseline I learned at OCC and applying it here. It's the same principles no matter where you go."
Landers graduated from Cicero-North Syracuse in 2007 and enrolled in what was then called the Electronic Media Communications program at OCC. He knew pretty early on he had made the right choice. "The teachers made the classes so much fun because everything you were learning you wanted to learn. And I knew that when they finished teaching for the day, they were going out in the field and doing the very same jobs they were preparing us for."
After completing his degree in 2009, Landers went to work for the Syracuse Crunch hockey team where he operated a camera during games. "It taught me a lot about applying the knowledge I had learned. It was my first job getting paid for what I learned at OCC."
In 2013 he was hired by CNY Central TV (channels 3, 5 and 6) as a News Photographer. In 2018 he and fellow alum Quindell Williams '08 became the station's first licensed drone pilots.
Landers loved the opportunity to learn and do more. And when he had the chance to make a monumental jump in television market size from the 87th biggest to 14th largest, he was ready to do so. "I needed to break out and try something different. The Pacific Northwest was an area I had always dreamed about. It gives me the feeling of truly being on my own. It's an experience I really needed to have. I needed a clean slate, taking everything I learned at OCC and all the way up to CNY Central, and applying all of it here. Even to this very day I am still learning. There are so many people here from all over the country and just hearing their stories and seeing how they do things means I am continuously learning and it is is making me better."
When he's not working Landers loves exploring the region he now calls home. He did some deep thinking recently when he visited Mt. St. Helens and considered how far he had come. "I never realized what I was learning at OCC could take me all of the way out here. I thought about all of the work that had to happen and all of the things that had to fall into place for me to be sitting here looking at this. Everything that started back there that led to this moment. It was a moment of inspiration I was both humbled by and grateful for."