A passion for storytelling…
Like many reporters, I knew this was what I wanted to do from a very young age. My passion for journalism began with reading and writing. I’ve always loved a good story. Now, as a weekday reporter in Springfield, Massachusetts, I get to tell stories each and every day. (And, after work, I get to read them – check out my 2018 Reading Challenge).
My day usually begins with a morning workout, accompanied by a good read (hint: see above), followed by a cup of coffee and, finally, my search for stories. My goal is to start the morning pitch meeting with a handful of quality story pitches. I’m an enterprise reporter, so I pitch stories that are exclusive and lead newscasts. That one interesting character, those lengthy court documents, a 911 call, some unique video – these are the details that can turn a good story into a great one. Once a week, I work on data collection and FOIA requests for Western Mass News Investigates.
There’s no typical day in news, but my days usually consist of a live VO/SOT at noon followed by two packages fronted live in our early evening shows at 4, 5 and 6. While I’m often out in the field with a fabulous photographer, sometimes, I get the chance to shoot and edit my own packages.
Questions lead to stories. If we don’t ask, we’ll never know. I take this mindset into the field with me and am always looking for something that sparks my interest.
When a public official tells me, “I don’t have the time today,” or a receptionist takes down my phone number and says, “we’ll see,” I don’t give up. I see that as a challenge. Sometimes, all it takes is a knock on a door inside city hall. Or, a text that reads, “I’m right around the corner – do you have 30 seconds to chat?”
As a journalist, it can be easy to get caught up in the circus. That’s why I always remind myself: I’m human first. In February 2017, a local woman named Jo Ringer went missing. Her 19-year-old daughter agreed, on numerous occasions, to give me exclusive interviews about her family’s search. She’d turn down our competitors, claiming they didn’t try to understand what she was going through. When a body was found in February 2018, I arrived at the scene before investigators, because friends of the missing woman tipped me off.
When it comes to finding those people-y stories, there is always a way. If I’m working on a story about an apartment rental scam, I’ll use Facebook to find people who lost money. If one person tells me she’s been scammed by a contractor, I’ll look for a trend by sifting through comments on the Better Business Bureau. And, I have excellent contacts who are just a text message away, always willing to help me search.
Connecting with viewers…
I love meeting new people. It was a good week if I can say, ‘this week, I had a conversation with 20 people I’d never met before.’
When I’m out in the field, it gives me a chance to get to know the people who invite me into their homes (through a television screen) every night. Whether they’re young, budding journalists or people I’ve just gotten the chance to interview, I always like to snap a selfie – and let the kids hold the mic!