Good Girl Chronicles

My Drive, My Inspiration

A few months ago I was asked to speak to a group of teenage girls about being a broadcast journalist. The organizers wanted me to share with the girls why I decided to enter the field of television, and hopefully inspire them to pursue their dreams.  I thought I’d share the words from my speech with all of you.
What I Want to Be When I Grow Up
I haven’t always wanted to be a reporter. When I was younger I wanted to be a child psychologist.  But, something changed my second year of college. I took a public speaking class, and it was the one class I actually leapt out of bed to attend. I liked my psychology classes, but I loved giving speeches and writing new stories each class. When the semester ended the professor asked if I had ever considered a career in broadcast journalism. The answer: I never thought being a television reporter was even an option for me. But, with her encouragement I quickly changed my major and fell in love with broadcast journalism.  I learned the incredible power journalism has to effect change, open people eyes, and provide a voice for the voiceless. 
But, getting a job in this business isn’t easy. I worked two jobs after college just to keep a part time job at a television station in Richmond. I worked as a production assistant, director, teleprompter operation, web producer, and feature writer at that station. After a year and a half of that I landed  a job in Lynchburg as a reporter.
What I love most about this job is having the opportunity to meet so many people like you and tell your stories.
My day typically starts off with a strong cup of coffee or at least two cups of tea. Most journalists drink coffee like water to keep going. Of all the newscasts morning news is my favorite. In the morning I watch snippets of  CNN,GMA, and the Today show to see what the big talking points of the day are. When I head into the office I check my emails to see if any contacts sent story ideas or comments on a story. I check stories from previous newscasts to see if there’s anything to follow up on. I try to read as many headline stories as I can,  and then I make beat calls.  From all of that I pick two or three solid stories I know I can develop that day and head to the morning meeting where we all discuss which stories to cover. For me morning meetings are probably one of the toughest parts of the day.
Once you’re done sweating, and discussing coverage for the day – the reporters head out to the field, gathering information with our photojournalists, often with no lunch breaks. It’s an interesting thing we do, one day we could be covering a house fire, or a story about Salvation Army, and another day we could be covering a story about the circus coming to town. And, then there’s the deadline pressure. You have to get as much information as you can into a 1:20 story. And, get it all in before deadline. It can be challenging, but I think most journalists feed off of that adrenaline.
Even with all the work it took to become a reporter, my ambition didn’t go into overdrive until someone special in my life inspired me to dream big, bigger than I ever thought possible. The main reason I dove into this career path is my mother. She fought and beat breast cancer. And, her experiences showed me that life is precious. One day while she was going through chemotherapy she said something that still resonates with me everyday. And I hope it’s something you can identify with.
She said, “Lauren, I’ve waited so long to chase dreams, putting them off for another day or another year. I always told myself I would get back to them one day, but cancer has shown me you never know if you are going to get that day. So Lauren I want you to live. I want you do all the things you’ve put off doing, wear the dress you’ve been saving for a special day, and plan the trip you’ve always dreamt of, go for the job people say you can’t do.”
And, I’m proud to say the reason I stand here today as a reporter is because I took my mom up on that challenge. I sent my resume into the job market with uncertainty, but even more determined  to keep pursuing this dream until it became reality.  My mother’s cancer  is in remission, and each day I remember those words she said to me.
I would encourage you all to do the same thing. Chase every dream or endeavor you have no matter how out of reach it seems. Dreams are a snapshot of what God wants to bless you with if you only let Him – so I say to all of you take the chance.

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