Today we celebrated my friend and colleague Amanda’s last day at NewsChannel 5. She’s been here for three years and accepted a main anchor position in Knoxville. That’s a huge promotion. It speaks to her talent as a reporter and an anchor. Good newsrooms, like this one, are filled with Type A personalities from all over the country. Yankee meets Southern Belle, crass meets prude, Christian meets atheist, gay and straight. We all come together to produce this thing called news. Sometimes it’s a wonder that you don’t turn on your TV and see the screen in black. Unlike others, this is a job you can’t do alone.
We spend hours upon hours together. In our newsroom there are very few offices. Most of us sit in open cubicles that we just call pods. The time spent together is not always under the most ideal circumstances. It could be driving a long distance for a story, standing in the freezing cold, interviewing a parent who just lost a child or attending a soldier’s funeral. These shared experiences allow you to really get to know a lot about a person; their values, what makes them tick, how they were raised, etc.
Amanda just started as my colleague. She says what’s on her mind in the exact way it entered her thoughts (if you know what I mean). A few Sunday brunches later, she started growing on me and often provided much needed laughter during a stressful day.
Newsrooms can be a revolving door. To move up, you often have to move away. In the last six years I’ve lived in four places. I’ve fit my life in a U-Haul and taken off. It’s kind of like moving into college Freshman year, over and over again. There’s that pit in the bottom of your stomach mixed with excitement. You wonder if you made the right move, will you make friends, will you find a hair stylist? (Ok, maybe not everyone worries about finding a stylist, but when you’re on TV stuff like that matters!)
When I moved to Macon, Georgia I had college friends who lived in Atlanta that I spent most of my weekends with. When I moved to Nashville, I had a former co-worker/dear friend at the same station. When I moved to Charlotte, in between those jobs I didn’t know a soul. It gets frustrating not knowing where the nearest grocery store is or not knowing a detour to get home. Thankfully, in every newsroom I’ve been in people on staff have welcomed me with open arms. They’ve invited the “new girl” out to ease the sometimes jarring transition.
Here at NewsChannel 5 we’re like a family, complete with the crazy brother, loud aunt and cousin you “sometimes” claim. It’s inevitable for people to become a part of your life, even if you least expect it. Today is Amanda’s last day here but she’s only moving a few hours down the road. The newsroom will definitely be different tomorrow when she’s gone. But it’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later. It’s often that way in news because you never know, our paths could cross again!
Onward and Upward- Until tomorrow