I’m well into the second half of my internship here at WAVY10 and the second month has been even more rewarding than the first. There have been so many opportunities to shadow seasoned reporters and cover breaking news. The greatest takeaway has been to expect the unexpected.
Towards the middle of September I had the opportunity to shadow Jason Marks. We were heading back to the station from Virginia Beach when he got a call that there was a crime that had just occurred in Newport News. Speeding back to hop in a different transit car, we rushed back into the newsroom, logged the sound we had just gotten, and switched cars. I have never felt such adrenaline as I did in that moment knowing I was going to my first breaking crime scene. What I appreciated the most about shadowing Jason was his dedication to helping me shoot a stand up. Even though it seemed like I was being drilled over and over to say the same sentence fifteen different ways, he wanted to ensure what I shot was perfect because that’s what you have to do in this business. I wrote my first package in the back of a transit van, learning the necessity of writing on deadline. Again, Jason read and reread my work, giving constructive criticism. In the end, the package was something I am still proud of.
I’ve spent many shifts shadowing Aesia Tolliver, who has become one of my biggest mentors throughout the process. She gave me my first experience logging sound after a shoot, transcribing the sound bites so they aligned perfectly with the allotted time for the story.
I went with Laura Caso to interview the owner of a local business closing its doors after operating for over 30 years. Tamara Scott and I followed up on a tip from Norfolk Police about increased security presence at theaters in light of the premiere of Joker, which was my first time encountering people who did not want us to film or ask questions. There are so many unknowns with the job and everyday presents something unexpected. The key, I’m learning, is to face the unexpected head on and get the job done.
I love what I do, but it hasn’t been easy. There have been a couple stories that I’ve gotten attached to and it was hard to leave them at work. You build connections with people as you’re covering their stories. They are telling you about the most vulnerable, specific details of their lives and yet you have to separate yourself from the emotion. As someone who wears my heart on my sleeve, this has been the biggest challenge for me. You get used to seeing blood at a murder scene, but you never forget the sound of a mother crying in horror after identifying her dead son. You don’t forget a ten year old child asking you where he’s going to go after his house just burnt down. But what you do remember is how people felt knowing you are on their side. It’s a growing journey and I’m grateful for this experience. Even when I’m anchoring World News, I’ll always be on your side.