I imagine I am Alison Parker, doing a live shot, yet another live shot, one of a dozen that will fill the work week.

I imagine how the sun rises behind her in the moments before it happens, how her photographer Adam has to adjust his camera to accommodate the encroaching fingers of light.

Maybe she learned her assignment that morning, when she walked into her newsroom at 3:30 AM and a producer told her she would be interviewing a woman about business redevelopment.

Maybe they were lucky to be able to park their truck near somewhere with a bathroom, so they could drink coffee in between live shots and stay awake until the show ended and they got their next assignment for the day.

Maybe they chatted between their two to four live shots, sharing the sort of intimacy that comes from spending the majority of your waking hours together.roanoke

Maybe Alison already knew, even in her short time in the business, that if news broke, the chamber of commerce story was out the window and she was off to the shooting/car crash/fire/robbery.

I can barely stand to think about the seconds leading up to the shooting. I have been her, hundreds of times in 23 years, ignoring the person I see walking up out of the corner of my eye. I cannot look at or be distracted by the passersby, the lookie loos or the rabble rousers, because I am on live television.

Live from Russia

Live from Russia

But I see you. And I hope that you let me finish my live report before you do whatever it is you’ve walked up to do.

Sometimes they simply want to say hello. Sometimes they want to cause a scene or get behind me and attract attention for themselves. I have been spit at and spit on and cursed at and yelled at and shoved and goosed and grabbed over the course of my career.

I have been frightened. I have heard gunshots, witnessed fights, have had photographers fend people off for me while I am still making coherent complete sentences on live television.

The live aspect of our business is just one of the many reasons that television news is not for the faint of heart.

Nor is it for the thin-skinned.

And in the hours after we found out that Adam and Alison’s killer was someone who had been a journalist, I had one thought — he wasn’t one of us.

The evil that slithered up behind them as they tried to simply do their job was not one of us.

I consider myself somewhat of an expert on us.

I do not delude myself. We are not curing cancer. Some of us have egos the size of Donald Trump. Some of us just really, really like being on TV.

But most of us, the VAST majority of us are the same.

People who try mightily to get it right

People who try mightily to get it right

We are the same in that we will never get rich doing this. Many of us qualified for food stamps in our first TV jobs and spent a decade trying to hit the $40,000 mark.

We are the same in that we will live in cheap, crappy apartments in cities where we don’t know a soul, schlepping off to work in our TJ Maxx clearance TV clothes, hoping to do a good job, so we can move up to the next slightly better paying job, where maybe we can afford to shop at Macy’s.

We are the same in that we miss major life events. You name it. Funerals and births, first words and first steps, Christmas and Thanksgiving, reunions and anniversaries.

We are the same because we are used to people calling us the mainstream, lame stream, left wing, right wing media.

People swear we have an agenda, a bias, a slant, an angle. They stop us at the grocery store and give us a piece of their mind about us, critiquing our looks and our reporting, telling us we need to fire this one or that one. As we’re trying to find a cereal on sale, they accuse us of being in bed with the Mayor/Obama/FOX News/Muslims/Christians/CNN.

It’s enough to make you wonder, who in the hell would want to do a job like that?


Because deep down inside, we are the same in believing that we can make a difference.

We can change things.

We can expose rot.

We can give a voice to the voiceless.

We can make people happy.

We can make them angry.

We can be the catalyst for change.

We are the ones at the shooting, the city council meeting, the hospital bedside, the big high school game, the war zone, the grieving family’s living room.

We take what we hear and I swear we do our damndest to regurgitate it back to you the best we can.

We want you to know what we know.

I didn’t know Alison Parker or Adam Ward, but I would bet they entered this business with an idealized, deep desire to make the world a better, more informed place. They wanted to tell good stories. They wanted to be part of the change.

One person, a Glock and GoPro toting person, stole the promise of their lives, ensuring they would experience no more ‘firsts,‘ of any kind.

I beg of you to remember one thing.

He was not one of us.







Posted in Off the Air Tagged with: , , , , ,
271 comments on “Roanoke
  1. Jody Noland says:

    You are the ones that tell our stories with excellence and sensitivity.
    You are the ones that come alongside us and beautifully share our dreams.
    You are the ones that touch hearts and continue to do so.
    You are amazing.

  2. Mary Jane Moss says:

    Beautifully written!

  3. Carol Bunn says:

    We, your loyal and deeply appreciative viewers, know your words are true but it is still important to hear them from you. This was beautifully written. You are part of my day every morning when I am not traveling on business. I very much appreciate you personally and the work that you do along with your colleagues. You have my prayers and support. I hope you have a loving and peaceful evening with your family today to help you deal with this horrible situation.
    Carol Bunn, Alpharetta

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Carol, thank you so much for reading my blog and taking the time to write. Yes, an awful day for everyone. I can’t stop thinking about their poor parents..and fiances..and friends. The weekend has been low key..with my husband and kids..just what I needed. Thank you again.

  4. Thank you. This is well-written – as usual. So many of us can relate.

  5. Chris Bailey says:

    I was hoping you would have something to say about this.
    I appreciate your experience and your insight.

    Anyone who has sat long hours on this scene or that scene understands the risks associated with it. That was my first thought when I heard this morning…must have been a bad area, a random act.

    It was even more shocking to learn the truth.

    • Hillary says:

      Really, cause I hoped this would be about the victims. Not Jaye’s experience. So sad. Normally you can’t keep the attention off the killers, and where it should be – Ms. Parker and Mr. Ward. So sad that i’ve seen so many young journalists who ‘identify’ with the victims take this opportunity to talk about themselves.

      • Jack says:

        Really Hillary?? I rarely use the word “ignorant” in comments or debates, because it is over used and people don’t seem to know the true definition of the word. You Hillary are truly ignorant, meaning you have no clue on what Jaye was going for with the comment. This was about ALL journalist and reporters, showing the comradery between them and how the loss of these two people affected others in the field. Please get a clue Hillary, you are just a sad person who probably finds fault in everything!

      • Donna Hardin says:

        Where is your compassion? These Journalists have every right to identify with these victims and express their own fears and anger! That is NOT taking away from the victims at all, and it is NOT self centered to express emotions! Some people are just callous! It is extremely scary to think that you could breathe your last breath just doing your job. As human beings I would wonder what is wrong with them if they didn’t stop and say,”It could’ve been me!” Give people a break!!

        • Kyle Grange says:

          This article is revolting, offensive and self serving. Please remove for the victim’s family’s sake.

          Thank you

          • Lora says:

            You are repulsive. My daughter is a producer for ABC. She shared the link to this because it touched her heart and shared what so many in the business are feeling. It us a great expression of respect for the victims and all the journalists nationwide. They are a family unto themselves.

      • Brandon says:

        It’s called journalism

      • Sandra says:

        You missed it Hillary. Perhaps you miss a lot in life if you missed the point of this….

      • Donna Hardin says:

        @Hillary, in response to your comment after mine:
        I don’t know you,and I don’t want to know you either,so please leave your preaching and your holier than thou attitude at the door! This was a beautiful piece of Journalism, written exactly as the writer wanted it to be,regardless of your petty opinions, so maybe you are the one who just DOESN’T GET IT! I will not respond to any more of your ridiculous comments to me or otherwise,so have at it!

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Chris, thanks so much, as always. I didn’t think I would have anything to say..but then it was just bursting to get out of my head and I knew I wouldn’t sleep if I didn’t get it written.

  6. Kim Lucey says:

    Thank you. I have been so upset and not able to focus the swirling thoughts in my head today. Thank you, for knowing exactly what so many of us were thinking, and for vocalizing it so well.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Kim, thank you for reading. I worked at WFSB from 96-99. Dana Luby and Tracy Furey and Eric Budney are still my buds!

  7. Kristen Reed says:

    Jay, thank you. This spoke to me. This really, really spoke to me.

  8. Tony Jacobson says:

    You are so eloquent and amazing when putting words on paper! I have read so many touching stories & comments today from our television brothers & sisters. All phenomenal in their own way. No one and I mean NO ONE painted the canvas with words that were more on point to how those of us in this business feel about this senseless tragedy. I would never expect anything less. You are a true treasure, my friend! Thank you for saying what we all feel. Miss you.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Tony, you are a treasure! Thank you for your incredibly generous and supportive words. What an awful week, huh? Those poor kids and their families. Thank you for reading my little blog..and writing me!!

  9. Julie Martinez says:

    I have never read your blog before but am so glad that I did today. It was powerful.

  10. Dorie Griggs says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Jaye. My prayers are with the family and coworkers of Alison amd Adam, but also for the thousands of journalists who work tirelessly to keep us informed, only to be taken for granted, insulted and put down. What you and so many other responsible journalist do should be praised. The fourth estate is so taken for granted now here in the US we forget get the free flow of information is what makes for a free society. You are right, the shooter is not one of you.

    Keep up the good work. Hugs to you and all your coworkers.

  11. marci Perry says:

    Thank you for such a descriptive thoughtful piece of what each of you who report live experience.

  12. Angie Sharp says:

    Jaye – Thank you so much for writing this. You were able to find the words many of us in the TV News Family could not find today. I really appreciate you taking the time to help us and others make sense of all this. – Angie Sharp, WQAD-TV in the Quad Cities IL/IA

    • Alan Katzer says:

      Hi Angie, perfect words and I think it’s time to tell everyone to stop playing politics with pleasure and get it one right. And sorry that the MDA Telethon streak is over but tell Channel 8 Quad Cities, thanks for the Telethon memories.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Angie, thank you so much for taking the time to write me. I so appreciate it. Stay safe…

  13. Maria Robinson says:

    You were spot on that he wasn’t one of you!
    My news team is extended family in my home.
    God Bless all of you.

  14. Sean says:

    This is fantastic. Thank you for writing this.

  15. Sam Dick says:

    Spot on, could only have been written by someone who has been in the trenches of local TV news reporting, and understands the grind, mission, and passion. Thanks for sharing this.
    Sam Dick/ WKYT CBS Lexington, KY

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Sam, thanks so much for your note and for reading my blog. I see you’re right there in the trenches with me. Thanks again.

  16. Nicole says:

    I just see me, almost 20 years ago, shooting live shots and b-roll while my best friend was in front the camera. Two young women, who as you said, thought we were making a difference in the world at 20something years old. Naive. Hopeful. Thinking of our reel and getting to the next bigger market, one day being the next generation’s Woodward and Bernstein. I’m heartbroken right now.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      That’s the big secret, isn’t it? We are competitors, but we’re often also friends, helping each other get by..because sometimes that’s what it takes to get by…thanks for reading, Nicole.

  17. Nancy Jo McDaniel says:

    I agree with you, Jaye, he was NOT ONE OF US, US being the definition you used above!!!! He may have worked in the same ‘job’ for a time, same job description…….but he was NOT the same!!!! Whatever it was that caused his actions was so foreign to US, that I found it harder to believe!!!! I do not believe that ‘drinking alcohol or getting wasted’ does not make one a murderer……I believe the evil has to be PRESENT to be acted upon!!!!! “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord…..” I will leave it in HIS HANDS!!!!!!!! Thank you for your posts!!!! XOXOXO

  18. Carol Welch says:

    Thank you for your personal insight into this horrific incident today. I was very touched by the sharing of your own experiences.

  19. Thank you for sharing this. Well said, with heart and candor.

  20. James says:

    Heh. This isn’t about you.

    • Angelique says:

      It wasn’t but seeing as how she is in the exact same profession she’s more than qualified to speak on the subject. I for one applaud what was said. Because it was said from a broken heart..pure and simple.

  21. Kimberly Jacobson says:

    Jaye Watson,
    There are people out here that pray for y’all when we see that y’all are out on a story… the Brian Nichols story, we didn’t know if he was crazy enough to shoot at those on the outside of the courthouse. I am sitting here in tears because these two people were innocent and doing their job and this EVIL PERSON took their lives for no apparent reason, yet it won’t be considered a hate crime! I doubt that it will even be considered workplace violence. Your RIGHT he was NOT one of you! I will end this by saying this PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH ALL OF 11ALIVE, Y’ALL PLEASE STAY SAFE, and know that there are people praying for you!

  22. Jane says:

    Incredible and beautiful, Jaye. Truly….

  23. Nancy Nickerson says:

    Your words go straight to the heart. My thoughts and prayers go out to not only their families, friends, and co-workers…but to all news reporters, who must be thinking “There but the grace of God.” tonight.

  24. Tonya says:

    Exquisite, poignant writing. Thank you. deepest sympathies.

  25. Michael Eckstein says:

    So many times while I was working, someone would come up to me, stick their finger, face, hand or whatever into my camera lens. If I objected it was “what’s your problem”. If I were a carpenter would they grab my hammer as I tried to pound a nail. We are people trying to do a job. “Hi mom” or FHITP is not funny, it’s an insult to us and our profession. The tragic events of today should remind us of the fact that the people working in TV journalism are professionals trying to do a service of providing information to viewers. Yes, this was a person with an agenda. However, the lack of respect and rudeness we face on a daily basis is absolutely uncalled for. Respect the individual, let them do their job. God bless these two journalists and condolences to their families.

  26. Frank Billingsley says:

    Beautifully, truthfully, thoughtfully written. WDBJ7 gave me my first television home from 1982-1986…I grieve for the two souls who were just beginning to make their marks and carry their truth.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Frank, thank you so much for writing. I have several friends who started in Roanoke, a little while after you. Our business is truly small. Thanks again.

  27. Ed says:

    Thank you for your words,that piece is stunning.

  28. Margaret says:

    I work at the competitor in Roanoke. We worked all day to make sure WDBJ7 had content for their newscast so they could focus on them. I don’t know anyone there personally. I’m new to Roanoke. I did my job the best Incould for them today without emotion. This brought me to much needed tears. Thank you for this.

    • Karen says:

      Wow, that redefines family. God bless you and your colleagues for rising above the “business” to do that. How heart warming.

    • Kimi says:

      Thank you Margaret. As the rest of us focused on getting the latest information on the shooting, you were plowing through to get the job done. The job is often thankless. But you, along with your coworkers, were part of something bigger. Most journalists are new to a city at one time or another…lonely…committed to the job vs a personal life. The experience strengthens you. And it’s something the rest of the industry can relate to. We don’t know you, but we see you. We see your hard work. Thank you for what you did yesterday. And what you’ll continue to do.

    • M says:

      What a kind gesture by you and the other station.

  29. Vicki Ringer says:

    Beautifully written thoughts about all of us who dare to call ourselves journalists – whether on air or in print. He was NOT one of us. He was not human.

    Thank you for baring a bit of your soul to us all today and saying so clearly what so many have been thinking but lacked your words to get our message across.

  30. J ALT says:

    What is saddening is it should not be a damn war zone in your own country!!! I Hope wherever they are there is peace

  31. Troy says:

    I just want to clarify that he definitely wasn’t using a GoPro It’s most likely a smartphone, hence the ridiculous sideways aspect ratio and ability to upload while running from police. Calling it a GoPro was a bit specific.

    • Troy says:

      Honestly, this was meant more for the author and not for public consumption. I actually enjoyed the article, but wanted to clarify. Feel free to delete both comments!

    • Sue says:

      What difference does it make whether it was a GoPro or a smartphone? There were 2 innocent people killed in the prime of their life. It’s not about a stupid phone! It is about them and the maniac that killed them!

  32. Kirsten says:

    Thank you Jaye. Beautifully said. My son is in his first year out of college doing exactly what you described so well in your article and what Alison and Adam were doing as they did every day. None of you get the respect you deserve for the hard work you do and the risks you take. Bless you all.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Kirsten, my heart goes out to you as the mom of a journalist. My mother needs a support group! I have scared her more times than I can count and she and my dad are several states away but she always finds out. There is no hiding ‘news’ in the world today. Things will get better for your son. The beginning is the hardest. It’s like reporter bootcamp. That’s what Alison and Adam were doing. I pray your son continues to do well and move up…thanks for reading.

  33. john hopperstad says:

    As someone who was doing a live shot about gun violence in a dark, lonely corner of a Seattle street when I first heard about this senseless act, let me say, Jaye, you nailed it!

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Oh John, what timing. Dark street, live shot, gun violence..that’s a trifecta, right there. Thank you so much for writing me and for goodness sake, stay safe. And thanks for what you do.

  34. Lee says:

    B.S. – the shooter was one of us. “Us” are not perfect. “Us” are human, and last time I looked all humans have some sort of issues and turmoil to deal with. Some have it worse than others. Don’t you dare try to make yourself look better by comparing yourself to someone who obviously needed help in dealing with issues. Many times we never know someone needs our help until it’s too late.

    HOW DARE YOU! You self-absorbed insensitive narcissist. I can only imagine how proud you looked at yourself in the monitor and all the “back patting” you gave yourself after tying this up. Good for you and your perfect psyche if you’ve never dealt with inner pain.

    It’s so easy for you to stand tall and profess how better you are than everyone else.

    How about this Mr. Self-important reporter, open your eyes a little wider actually see the world.

    Be sure to tell the audience in your next liveshot how you are such a better person than the suspect you are reporting about, and editorialize more by proclaiming said suspect isn’t human, isn’t one of us. Make sure your super includes “egomaniac.”

    Consider me out of your “us” grouping because I don’t demonize a lost soul who snapped.

    • Bill says:

      Never fails. There’s always at least one person who feels a need to piss on the words of another in order to make himself feel superior.

      • Donna Hardin says:

        Bill, you took the words right out of my mouth! Someone speaks straight from the heart in a beautiful,moving,personal,and touching way,and as always,the jack asses start to come out of the woodwork! I am blown away by this powerful and sincere piece of work. The only ‘narcissism’ I see here, is not from the writer/journalist, but from rude and heartless individuals who chose to be ugly and disrespectful during a time when there should be compassion,prayers, and unity. Thank you so much for this beautiful piece from your heart! God Bless you and the entire industry.

    • Novez says:

      Only one self absorbed narcissist I see, and it isn’t the person who wrote the original post. Your jumping to conclusions about things never remotely said or implied here is not a very good look. I’d be harsher, but this post on this day isn’t the time.

    • Heather says:

      Oops. I think you just tarnished the author’s halo. It is good to have different opinions, and I glad yours wasn’t censored. I’m no fan of the mainstream media and found this emotional gushing way too sweet and sickly for me. The media is partially responsible for whipping up racial hatred. It is their bread and butter. Let us not lose sight that they are also human. I fear the gunman did just that; Lost sight that these were fellow human beings.
      I’m so saddened for all involved. RIP

    • Leann says:

      Stop making excuses for a psycho. I’m thinking that the original posting was in fact written by someone who is a “better person” than the suspect since well he doesn’t seem to have MURDERED TWO PEOPLE IN COLD BLOOD ON LIVE TELEVISION!!! And suspect is pretty much moot isn’t it since he filmed it and sent it out to all the news outlets so that everyone would remember his name and he would be famous?

    • Karen says:

      The “us” she us referring to is the broadcast family not humanity. How could someone kill their co-worked of 50-75 hours per week…someone they eat thanksgiving dinner with on the floor in the conference room? Of course it seems insulting to someone who is not in the field. That is not the way it was meant. Photogs I worked with stood between me and danger many times. I stood between them and angry people at meetings whirl they concentrated in getting a shot, it is a family and this is hard for many of us to comprehend but then hatred and mental illness are also tough to comprehend.

    • cheryl P says:

      The writer’s comments show a mixed up sense of self. Would he critizise the officers who respond to these incidents? What would he call the people who were there just listening to the reporters? The emergency responders? He sounds like one who might someday go off the deep end in some way and we will read about him in the media!!!! For those who thinks reporters have an easy job, think again. Try being one yourself. You’d quit the 1st week.

    • Sandy says:

      Lee, I hear the pain in your response. You clearly understand suffering and somehow identify with the killer who was troubled–but you are not being victimized by her post. The reporter was not condemning you or people who suffer in general. Personal suffering, real or imagined, however, does not give license to do harm to others. That is what she meant by “not one of us”. That journalist became a killer and Jaye is correct to point out journalists, like Alison and Adam, are trying to do good not harm. They are not perfect or super human or better than others-they were doing their job. They are not out to attack you-and they were not out to attack the killer who apparently turned every perceived slight into a capital offense against himself–as you are now. I am sorry he was incapable of asking for help his own suffering–that he somehow thought it was better to destroy than to heal. Please seek help for your own suffering. You deserve to see life through a better pair of lenses.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Lee, thanks for weighing in. And thanks for reading my blog.

  35. Karen says:

    Heartbreaking. So many asked today – why didn’t they see him? And watching the video, you can SEE why. Both of them were doing their JOB. My condolences to all of you who lost a piece of your heart today. And, Jaye – you’re so right. He was NOT one of you. He was just a racist shard of evil, who had managed to lose his way in life.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Karen, thanks so much for reading and taking the time to write me. For all we know she may have seen him, just a periphery glance of someone hovering at the edge of her liveshot, but she was a pro, and knew that to look away from her interview would have been bad. Thanks again.

  36. Linda says:

    All of you do a wonderful job, and I am very glad y’all do what you do. I couldn’t do what y’all do you have such horrible hours, but y’all enjoy doing what y’all do so we people can be informed what is going on in our community, State or Country. People talk ugly toward others because they have nothing good going on in their lives, so they want others to be just as miserable as they are. Keep up the great work all of you (the whole staff) 🙂

  37. Jerry Collins says:

    Wow, this is the first I ever heard of you. I am from Arizona. Thank you for sharing. Totally beautiful.

  38. Chris Cook says:

    Well said. Funny thing is, I was in the business for 17 yrs and have been out longer than that, yet I still consider myself “one of us” as you put it. Still shoot and edit, just not for news, yet the news never leaves me.

    I felt ill when I saw what happened. Watched live reports all day from my office.

    Such a tragedy.

  39. Kate says:

    Beautifully written. As the former spouse of a fellow news hound, my heart goes out to the entire industry on this sad day. Thank you for sharing your perspective. Be safe out there.

  40. Ed Weaver says:

    A beautiful professing of your profession. And the stories you have told throughout your career – told as only you can – have touched so many and different people in so many and different ways. How sad that these young colleagues have been deprived of their chance to tell peoples’ stories.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Ed, thank you so much. I’ve done my best (most of the time — we all have off days). And it’s so tragic they won’t be able to tell anymore stories. Just unbelievable.

  41. Stevie says:

    I’ve been too numb and too angry to cry all day long as all of us Schurz employees have tried to wrap our brains around this. This finally did it.

  42. Barb Monroy says:

    beautiful words, my heart broke today for all my friends in media …this was a sad day

  43. Colleen says:

    I am not a journalist, but in reading this, I believe you have captured the essence of the innermost thoughts and feelings of every single on camera and behind camera journalist in the world today. My appreciation and prayers for each of you cannot be expressed in just a few words. But know the prayers will continue and when mine are no longer uttered, the dear Lord will continue to watch over you.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Colleen, what a lovely note. Thank you so much for writing. I do hope the prayers continue for Adam and Alison’s families and Vicki’s, too. And thank you for your wishes for me, too.

  44. Ted Stone says:

    Thank you so much for this, Jaye! Here’s one you might appreciate, especially after today’s horrible events. Many years ago, in my first television news job, one of our reporter/photographers went out to cover a standoff situation in which an armed man had barricaded himself inside a house. When our guy arrived there, the man’s adult son confronted him and said “If you shoot any film, I’ll break that camera!” The reporter/photographer was a burly ex-Marine with a bad temper, and the camera was a Bell & Howell 70-DR. That was a wind-up film camera made out of what seemed to be battleship-grade steel. “The only way this camera is going to get broken,” the reporter/photographer said, “is when I break it over your head!” The son backed off.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      I remember the Bell & Howells! My guys always said they don’t make them like that anymore. Oh yes, I’ve had some guys who’ve had some great lines over the years. Scary at the time, but thank God we laughed about them later. Thanks for reading, Ted.

  45. Deanna Hyatt says:

    Thank you Loraine Rivera, u are one beautiful Journalist, human being for being honest and I pray for those two Journalist ‘s, u guys give of yourselves 24/7, God bless their family, and the Journalist family of Families, Dear Lord hear our prayers!

  46. Janet says:

    Bravo Jaye
    Thank you

  47. Bob Warren says:

    i live less than a mile from this tragic event. I consider myself very analytical and couldn’t understand seeing the video why no one notice him there. You explained it to me and that totally eases my mind but doesn’t ease the pain of this event. I didn’t know the reporter or cameraman but I do know Vicki Gardner.
    Thank you for the insight and understanding.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Bob, your town must be reeling. I’m so sorry. I think it will take a long while to get over this. Vicki Gardner is going to need a lot of support. I’m glad she has a community around her. Thank you for reading.

  48. Tony Barbour says:

    Well said. Local TV has its share of foibles, in general, but the institution keeps us informed about our hometowns and united as communities. The man who did this was not part of that.

  49. Paul makarushka says:

    Thank you for this.

  50. Tommie Bell says:

    I can definitely see where this has rattled all of you to your very core. I am sure if Allison or Adam had been in your shoes and were reporting of this tragedy, rather than experiencing it, they would feel the same as you do. They would feel that even though they never met you, they would know you, just as Jaye expressed in that very true, very powerful message. I am sorry, not only for Allison and Adam’s friends and family, but for us all. This world is becoming such a horrible place that you can’t live the same carefree life without having to look over your shoulder and be weary of every stranger you cross paths with. I am sorry for us all, for our lost innocent life. God bless Allison and Adam and all of the people who were so deeply shaken by this tragedy.

  51. Hilary says:

    As a former reporter and still one of Us, I thank you for this gorgeous and accurate piece of beautiful sadness. I’ve read alot on this today, and i’ve said alot on this today. Nothing as exact and true as this.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thank you so much for your incredibly nice note, Hilary. Even out of the’re still one of us. The only thing we’re missing is a secret handshake. Thanks for reading my blog.

  52. Teri Burks says:

    Absolutely one of the best pieces of journalism I have ever read! I am not in the journalism field of getting out there at all hours of the day and night, regardless of weather or other limitless personal sacrifices that our media in general must tolerate to get US the story, to the best of their ability. This is what Alison and Adam were doing when this evil entered their view. I think about their last seconds…because they did not have minutes left on this earth and that is the ONLY thing that I can personally find some comfort in. That it was over as soon as it began for Alison & Adam. Vickie no doubt, has a long road ahead of her and she may never fully recover from this tragedy. I will probably never completely get those screams out of my head, having heard them live on Wednesday morning. I can only pray for those who loved them…their families, both God given AND their WDBJ 7 family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Tomorrow morning, at sunrise… someone somewhere will step out in to the unknown, set up the camera…adjust their clothing and hair, feeling completely safe and secure. I pray that they return home to their “home base” safely. Thank you for this beautiful piece and I pray for a peace that surpasses all to those who loved these young people, taken out so young in their careers and life!

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Teri, thank you so very much for your incredibly generous words. I too, wish I hadn’t watched the video, but I work morning shift and we saw it before we knew anything about it. Thank you for reading my blog. j

  53. terri hardesty says:

    I don’t know who you are but you just summed up my entire TV reporting experience and all the sacrifice that it takes to make your way up to bigger markets. I have to say that it may have ultimately ruined my life as I gave up everything to be a TV news reporter…and yes the pay, wow. I see that young woman as me…up at 3:00 am, willing to do anything to make it in the business. Of course what happened to her doesn’t happen to any of us, but I think it brings up an important point…what are we willing to sacrifice.

    • Ashley says:

      This is exactly why I have a problem with this piece. It’s not about the writer’s sacrifice, it’s not about your sacrifice. It’s not about the freaking industry! Quit making this awful tragedy about YOU and how much YOU are like the victims. I get that you relate and come from similar backgrounds. It’s human nature to find connections and relate to one another.

      Alison Parker
      Adam Ward

      Have those words even come across your brain in the past 48 hours? Congratulations on your career, but I will never ‘thank you for your service’

    • Jaye Watson says:

      We do give up a lot, don’t we? I feel lucky I have my husband and kids, because that’s kind of a miracle. He was our chief photog..that’s how I have that part of life. I hope it didn’t ruin your life. I’m a true believer that no experience is wasted. Yes, there are people who get out and say “Hallelujah!” I may be one of the some day..who knows, right? I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for reading my blog.

  54. Kristi Eckerson says:

    You, Jaye, are one of the few I consistently respected in the local Atlanta news while I lived there. This post is confirmation that that opinion was well deserved. I have a new family member who is in your business and knowing her I trust there are more honest and well intentioned folks with true integrity doing their best to inform. Keep up and keep on. Be the change we all need to see in this world.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Kristi, thank you for your kind words. I guess you’re not in Atlanta anymore. Support your family member. Send her a gift card or some cookies!!! News people eat like crap on the road…thanks for reading my blog.

  55. Mieka says:

    Beautifully written. On such an immensely tragic day you found a way to give a quick glimpse into the exciting but at the same time frightening day of a journalist. But reminded people to not generalize, but see us all individually. God bless

  56. Sister Alaina Damewood says:

    It always depressing to see journalist killed while doing live reports. I have heard serval stories over the years from Jack Anderson’s family and Jack when he was alive about how many times back in his time of reporting that journalists would get killed while doing their reports. It is hard to belive in this time period that events like this still occur it shows that even as joutnalist you to put your lives on the line when doing reports. I am also keeping the families and friends of the reporters that died in my prayers along with all journalists durring this time . Because the reality once again hit to close to home not just where these two that where killed in journalists fields but the factor that the area of it being in the va’s . It is hard to even know where to being on the prayers for all of these events . Because it seems like everytime we turn around we are seeing some new event taking place in media with people lossing control and doing horrible crimes. So my prayers go out to all in the media feilds because i to had family members who work in the field of journalism

  57. BillW says:

    This LITERALLY has nothing to do with journalism. This was workplace violence, pure and simple, and you are subhuman slime for somehow equating it with the they job these poor folks happened to have. Absolutely shameful, and disgusting. I truly hope you can grow from this.

  58. BillW says:

    Seriously, what a gross, self-aggrandizing stance to take. Preposterous.

  59. Trish says:

    Wow. You hit it… Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing.

  60. GKale says:

    This is truly an eloquent insight into a horrific act of evil. My heart goes out to the families and friends of those two young journalists. As a former print journalist and now an attorney, I know how difficult your jobs are on a daily basis. I agree that this barbarian was not one of you because if he was, he would never have tried to hurt his fellow journalists. While joirnalists may be competitive to get the best stories, they all are supportive of each other. God bless all of you!

  61. Laurie says:

    As a news reporter myself, this is one of the best things I’ve read today about what happened in Roanoke. Agree with everything you say.

  62. Dominic says:

    Some of us never cracked $40K and had to move on to other careers because bills never take a month off… and we still miss it almost a decade later.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      I joke that it’s an illness..but it’s not really a joke. There is a love/hate aspect to it..but when it’s good, nothing is better. I hope you’re doing something that makes you happy, Dominic. Thanks for reading my blog.

  63. Shari says:

    So nicely said.

  64. Suzy Pietras-Smith says:

    I’m not a television journalist, but I am a print one. Thank you for these heartfelt words at such a hard time.

  65. Windy J. says:

    This was well-written.

    This was a heartbreaking act…by someone who was either mentally broken or desperately evil, but it stole people from us who never deserved to have their lives stolen.

    I don’t always like journalism, but we’re all humans. I’m so sad that this happened to them, and to you. <3

  66. Shelley says:

    Well put. LOVE my local news!
    Thanks for the wonderful statement. God bless.

  67. Lynn says:

    I have been the one at a TV station where security gates were installed in the parking lot because the reporters had stalkers. I have been in the control rooms and edit bays when suspect packages arrived, when threatening phone calls were made, when employees were rushed from the building while it was swept for bombs. When my transition was complete from broadcast journalism to print media, I watched a line of bulletproof glass go up around the lobby. I’ve seen reporters harassed, bullied, spit on, shot at — for doing their jobs. I’ve seen the mentally ill walk outside our doors and inside our newsroom. I’ve been there to watch a former colleague walk away over the horrors witnessed on the job. I’ve seen another escorted from the premises by police and management, disgruntled and disturbed and completely unhinged.
    Today I will go back to work next to some of the best and brightest minds in the industry because we know
    We can change things.

    We can expose rot.

    We can give a voice to the voiceless.

    We can make people happy.

    We can make them angry.

    We can be the catalyst for change.

    Thank you for putting into words what so many of us have been thinking over the last 24 hours.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Lynn, boy…you’ve seen it all. We’ve been swapping the same stories at work this week. Like every businesss..we have the good and not so good..and the troubled. It’s incredibly awful..but that doesn’t diminish the importance of what we try to do every day. Thanks for being one of the ones who does it. My best to you. j

  68. Marcia White says:

    What an exquisitely eloquent essay! It moved me to tears. Our freedom is assured as folks like you continue to be determined to keep the public informed. You are one of a long line of dedicated journalists reaching from Ben Franklin into the future! We are indebted to you for your efforts.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Marcia, wow — you brought out Ben Franklin..that’s awesome! Thank you. I can’t thank you enough for your kind, supportive, encouraging words. They means so much. j

  69. Jim Barber says:

    Amazing observation. Thank you for writing and I would encourage every budding journalist to read it with humility.

  70. Dawn says:

    Poignant, powerful and so true. Well said. Thank you, and thanks for being one of us.

  71. Scott T Imler says:

    Such atrocities always leave us wondering WHY. We struggle to reconcile insanity with reason and when we naturally fail we seek to confine the illogic outside of our personal moral paradigms and collective social expectations that one’s grievances — no matter how acute — never justify violence against the innocent. While I appreciate the unique narrative from the daily grind of dedicated news people, “he is not one of us” screams out the very exclusionary isolation that fueled the shooter’s madness. These are the same man made lines we draw while we wonder why. The fact is mr. Flanagan was one of us with hopes and dreams – that like so many have been lost, ignored, or deliberately encumbered. While none of that justifies his actions — when all hope is lost and all one has is the bounty of our daily American diet of gun toting retributive justices — by local and murder or unmanned drones half a world away — every line we draw is a lpotential ine in the sand.

  72. Ray Hazel says:

    This post, written so soon after the tragedy, is a fitting tribute to your profession and those who died yesterday. Good work.

  73. Karen Ferguson says:

    This is so compelling, so powerful and persuasive. As a print journalist and editor, who has never been broadcast, I wish I could send you two suggestions if there is a possibility you can correct, as I am certain your statement will be widely published. I wish I could do this privately, but there is no other contact. You give people a “piece of your mind” not “peace of your mind.” Also, your work educates and elevates society; no one should ever say that you “regurgitate” facts — you synthesize them, put them into order, make them meaningful. Don’t denigrate your great achievement.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      thanks, Karen. In the show now. of course it’s piece! I don’t know why I didn’t see that. thanks very much for the feedback.

  74. Milto says:

    Thank you. And thank you for sharing Heidi.

  75. Katy says:

    Dear Mr. Jay,
    My mother really wanted me to become a journalist! As I looked at your lives, I decided it was very hard and not for me. Everything you just explained was what I had viewed and more!! I bless those who wake up early and don’t mind not having a life!
    This news was eath shattering! Alison could have been me!
    I have not heard all of the story yet but what I can tell you is that most of your people are kind and pure at heart!
    No he was not of your kind!

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Katy, thank you so much for your wonderful letter. I so appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and write me. my best to you.

  76. Kate Lewis says:

    Very well written, you described it so well. Thank you for taking the time to help others to understand what and why journalist do what they do.

  77. Jan says:

    You are a credit to the TV business. Thank you for your amazing words. I will share them with our team.

    He was not one of us.

    YOU are one of the best of us.

    Best wishes healing.

  78. Henry Hill says:

    Jaye Watson, your letter is an inspiration coming out of tragedy. We all know who is “us.” We are “us” who get up every morning and go through the day doing our jobs, interacting with others and just trying to be a good person. We are not the people who get up in the morning and decide to act in violent and destructive ways. I run a small one room school. When my wife said I needed a discipline policy, I wrote it as a tweet. “At our school in everything we say and do, we ask ourselves one question, ‘How can I be a blessing to others?'” Jaye Watson, you are right, this man was not one of us.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Henry, what an awesome discipline policy — it applies to every school, workplace, church — every everywhere, period. It’s true. Journalists were more respected when I entered the business and I watched the shift — from curiosity to suspicion, when I told people what I did. I would argue the vast majority of us are still honorable. I bet you run a great school. thanks for reading my blog. my best to you. j

  79. Thomas Horstmann says:

    My cousin , like Adam Ward a TV camera man has told me that he “sees” the eyes of the interviewee while videotaping and senses their inner soul…be it sincere, shallow or downright sinister. He made not be doing the talking but he knows the integrity of the person by looking through the lens.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      That’s lovely, Thomas. I work with a few photographers (my husband included) who see the world that way as well. They make the best photographers — the world makes more sense to them when viewed through a lens. Thanks for taking the time to write me.

  80. mark thoma says:

    I was in front of a TV camera for almost 25 years, and two of those as the morning ‘live’ reporter at a network affiliate in Cleveland, OH, I’m frankly amazed this hadn’t happened before in the 40-50 years that ‘Live Remotes’ have been a staple of TV news. The writer is ‘spot on’ in her observations of the job, the conditions, the sacrifices, etc. although I am far too cynical and knew only one or two reporters who were dedicated to the story, or the nobility of informing the public. Frankly most of us just craved the spotlight and harbored some ridiculous thought that we would someday be successful (and rich).
    Here’s the one thing that nobody outside of the business will say though.
    Time was that ‘live shots’ were reserved for breaking news events that needed/deserved a live camera (and sometimes a reporter) at the scene to show/tell the viewers what was going on.
    Not anymore. Now local TV news demands ‘live shots’ just because ‘we can’. I can’t count the number of times over the years (probably well over a thousand) where I was ‘live’ in the field telling people about something that happened 10 hours earlier, or would happen later that day. Absolutely no immediacy to the story other than TV news ability to manufacture immediacy.
    Sad to say but Alison and Adam gave their lives for a mall opening! A mall opening for chrissakes! Why couldn’t the chamber of commerce spokesperson have been ‘on set’ with the anchors discussing this monumental news event?
    So the lesson of this story (if there is one) is that TV news (actually the morning producer who assigned them to do yet another ridiculous ‘live shot’) killed Alison and Adam.
    Had to happen sooner or later.
    p.s. I worked at the NBC affiliate in Roanoke for about 10 months in 1992, and from there went to Kansas City.

    • Ruth says:

      Way to lay blame on the fiancée of Adam Ward. She was also the producer in the booth who saw it all unfold. Classy

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Mark, the issue of live shots has been argued exhaustively every place I’ve ever worked. And as you know, if it’s live ‘for the sake of live’, reporters and photos aren’t big fans of that. But then focus groups will say they like that, or bosses will argue it gives a story more energy..and it does..when there is something happening. I don’t think it’s a battle we will win. I’ve heard there is a station that stopped live shots..somewhere up north..but I wonder how long that will last. It’s certainly an expected staple of broadcasting in all tv news — from local to network to cable, around the world. Thanks for writing.

  81. Ralph says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I sometimes can be one of those people that are much to critical of folks like you that do such a thankless job so people like me can truly understand what is going on in this crazy world in which we live. It has opened my eyes in a very different way. Thank you.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Ralph, thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and write me. When I came into the business, we were pretty respected, and that has changed a lot. But the truth is that most of us are still the same — we want to get the truth..and then tell it to you. Thank you again.

  82. john hassle says:

    Everyone past or present as a member of the Fourth Estate can relate to exactly these words. First time I’ve read you, won’t be the last.

  83. Maxiane says:

    Thank you.

    James Madison University and WDBJ7 alumnus

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thank you Maxiane. I had my first job in Harrisonburg, VA back in 1992, at WHSV-TV. I was the worst one man band to every roam the planet. But I still love Harrisonburg, and I was at JMU every week for a story.

  84. Joseph Coleman says:

    Thank you Sir you and all the journalist and reporters and meteorologist for doing what you do,I know I am nobody but I am so proud of the work you all do, Without you we don’t know what to do, where to go safely and when bot to get wet or hurt, When know when to leave and when to stay home, when someone or nature or anything takes One of your all’s life, we grieve as much as your family does cause to us you are family, you are in are homes everyday even if you never see us we see you all everyday, we care, most of us and I sincerely apologize for the ones that don’t sadly someday they might be the story you are reporting on, Please Be Safe all of you in the news field and Take Care cause we Care,Thank You all of you.

  85. Sarah T says:

    Thank you for posting this. It summarizes everything I’ve been thinking but have been unable to verbalize. I have had such a heavy heart since yesterday morning just knowing this could have been me or anyone else in my own newsroom family, and I can’t even imagine how painful this must be for the WDBJ staff.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thanks for writing, Sarah. I’ve had the same heavy heart. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for the WDBJ staff and Alison and Adam’s families.

  86. dave koch says:

    I have not been in TV for 20 years…. but for ten years, I was out there every day. This story hit me instantly because that was me out there, 20 years ago.

    Last night, my daughter asked me why Alison and Adam did not just run away. I tried to explain the tunnel vision professionals have when doing a live shot- how that little view in the viewfinder was your whole world during the shot. I did not explain it nearly as well as you do here.

    My thoughts and prayers to to all those Adam and Alison left behind, and all the people they touched. It was always my goal as a photog (I doubt I will call myself a “shooter” anymore…) was to make a difference… I think they did.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Dave, thanks for sharing. I too got the ‘why didn’t they run’ question. The adrenaline and focus that live television demands, does not allow for darting eyes and lack of concentration. And yes, it’s impossible to explain. Thanks for reading.

  87. Eric Francis says:

    Beautiful. Thank you, from one journalist’s broken heart to another’s.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thanks, Eric. What a crap week, huh? Their poor mom has been calling me three times a day. Thanks.

  88. Well said. Thank you. I’m sharing this with my students at the Missouri School of Journalism.

  89. Mark Chase says:

    Raw, heartfelt, and well written. Thank you for sharing and please stay safe out there!

  90. Bill Pasha says:

    A balanced and insightful look behind the scenes of what is NEVER an ordinary day at the office. Good work!

  91. Anne says:

    This blog entry is truly great reporting. Our son, the same age as Alison, is also a TV reporter. The picture you paint is dead-on: the desire to tell a meaningful story, the camaraderie, (amazingly) low pay, missed holidays (TV dinner in a little town for Thanksgiving in year 1). Thank you for honoring Alison and Adam and their dreams, and for humanizing your profession and what really goes into making the news: grit, determination, calmness-literally in the eye of the storm-under incredible pressure that would make the rest of us weak in the knees. Journalists are knocked for so many things and you have pulled back the curtain on the heart inside of the people who do it. Thank you.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thank you Anne, and God bless you as the mother of a TV reporter. I think I’ve almost given my parents heart attacks over the years. Between war zones and hurricanes and riots..I think I subtracted years from my parents’ collective lives. It sounds like your son gives you the inside scoop, which is a blessing and a curse! He sounds like a good kid and it will get better, he will make more money, and he will have a holiday off. Christmas only took me 19 years. 🙂 My best to you and your family. j

  92. Toni says:

    Thank you for writing this! I have been in the news business a long time and when I was asked (by law enforcement friends and others) “how did they not see him?” I was trying to explain the focus reporters have when they are in a live shot. They are blocking the distractions so they can do their job and not screw it up. This explained it very well.

    Maybe newsrooms should consider situational awareness training for every day reporting. When shootings are now happening in malls and movie theaters maybe we all need to be aware of strange things in our surroundings. It’s a sad time.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Toni, thanks for writing. People asked me the same thing. It’s quite likely she did see him, but probably only as a figure hovering at the edge of her live shot, which I’m sure happened to her on a regular basis. If you’re a pro, you’re not going to look off camera while you’re trying to communicate with people at home, or if you’re doing a live interview. I do think that can be difficult to explain to people outside the business.Thanks again for reading the blog.

  93. Erin says:

    Thank you for writing this on behalf of these two innocent victims, selfishly killed by a coward while doing what they loved best.

  94. M says:

    Beautifully written. Brought tears to my eyes. May God bless you and your fellow journalists.

  95. Marie, VCU graduate, MSW '81 says:

    Hello Jaye, I deeply appreciate what you have so eloquently written. Yet, I beg to differ. He was one of you. He must have been trained as a journalist given the fact that he had been on the air himself as a news journalist. The fact is he was one of all of us. However, he was obviously seriously mentally ill. He was just like you and me, except he was severely, chronically mentally ill. The fact that this man was so deranged he intentionally made this happen on television taking the lives of two innocent journalists doing their jobs. When I first heard this news, I thought of severe mental illness. Why is no one talking about this issue? The press is condemning him and other mass shooters like him, rightfully so taking the lives of innocent people. However, the issue of their severe psychiatric illness and the prevention of mass shootings is yet to be discussed. Gun control, or the lack there of, is such a political issue that there is no gun control. The second ammendment was written when people had no choice but to protect their homes and land. I believe the sentiment behind the right to bear arms was intended for self-defense, not for blatant murder. This shooter was one of us. More important, he was a very sick man who’s illness was fatal for himself and 2 innocent people. It seems that mental illness is the only form of illness that can be fatal not only for the individual, but also for innocent victims. Our government should take a look at this issue and put greater funding into mental health prevention, education and treatment. And, it’s about time congress really does something meaningful about gun control.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Marie, thank you for your thoughts on this. I don’t disagree with you. As a fellow human being, he was very much one of us. But he wasn’t one of us as a journalist, the ones of us who try very hard each and every day to do the next right thing. And I sincerely agree with you that more needs to be done on the very real, troubling issue of mental illness in this country.

  96. Sandra says:

    Now that I dont work anymore, I don’t have to get up early,but I fall asleep at night with my TV on and tuned to WDBJ7. The sound of the local news awake me and is the beginning of my
    day. They are a part of me. A part of our comunity. We love them all. Some of them I have met and
    Some have been to my home. God bless them all. Please continue doing what you do so well.

  97. Michele Kane says:

    That shooter couldn’t have been less like us.

  98. Ashley says:

    I’m sorry, I think you had good intentions in writing this, but these events should be about the victims – Alison and Adam. This has nothing to do with YOU. This whole post is incredibly self serving, narcissistic and warped. It’s always a shame when the attention is taken away from the victim and made about the killer…but to see so many journalists, who already command attention during their 9-5 make this event about them. That to me is really sad. You are their peer and comrade. Act like one. 🙁

    • Donna Hardin says:

      My niece is a Journalist on a News Channel as well. She too, wrote to her viewers how it made her feel after this tragedy.And she said A LOT about the VICTIMS! Many other Journalists across the nation are doing the same. It’s like when a cop is shot-they, as a family ban together and they grieve together.The victims are getting plenty of recognition in the NEWS! On a person’s own blog,(which isn’t national news coverage)I think it is OKAY and completely appropriate for them to be able to express their own grief over a tragedy that hits HOME to them! What the hell is narcissistic about that? I think I am realizing more and more why I would just as soon be around animals as to be with humans!

      • Kyle Grange says:

        Ms. Hardin,
        First of all, congrats on you nieces career. But this has nothing to do with her.

        Have you ever had a child a victim of homicide? Have you ever had someone close to you be murdered? This post is offensive to me, and I wasn’t going say anything until I saw your post. First of all, congrats on your niece’s career. But unfortunately this hAd nothing to do with you. If you were to read this post about the early career of journalists, fine. But as the author attached the victim’s names to it and made the post about her, shame on her. Truly disgusted by this narcissistic display. Can anyone talk about this even without mentioning. Someone they know in the industry?

        More about the VICTIMS:

        • Heather says:

          I too am becoming more disgusted by the moment of the comments in here. I feel that I have stumbled upon an incestuous forum, plastered with I love journalists tacky stickers. I make a lot of allowances for Americans and genuinely love so many American people. Thank goodness that there are good American people who really are capable of critical thinking and who don’t flock to the altar of self worship whilst blowing smoke up the backsides of each other. I’m surprised no-one has posted their CV yet!

        • Donna Hardin says:

          @Kyle Grange I wasn’t implying that it had to do with MYSELF or my Niece! This BLOG isn’t intended to be a NEWS story. It’s an essay by a JOURNALIST who creatively wanted to share HIS perspective!

          • Hillary says:

            sharing his perspectives through exploiting this tragedy. I am shocked to see every comment on this site blab on an on about how this piece gets ‘them/their niece/uncle twice removed’. Sorry but you will never get it. These deaths of ALISON PARKER AND ADAM WARD are a result of workplace homicide. Yes they were journalists. How about honor THEM and THEIR careers without tooting your own horn/asking people to literally thank you for your ‘service’. Just STOP!

    • Marty says:

      Ashley, When I read Jaye’s article my thought was “Wow, that was really well written; she gave insight into the ideals and mindset of many/most journalists, two of whom were the victims.” Isn’t that valuable? Doesn’t that pay a different kind of respect, and give us a different way to feel empathetic toward Alison and Adam, especially the dreams and ideals they probably shared? To me, that is much more valuable, and a stronger tribute to Alison and Adam, than if Jaye had written some empty boilerplate article that talked about two people she never knew.

      Perhaps Jaye’s article hit closer to home because my daughter is also a TV journalist, one who shares the ideals and emotions that Jaye has so eloquently expressed. It doesn’t diminish Jaye in the slightest that her own work gives her a degree of empathy that most of us can’t feel, or that she chose to honor them as she did.

      • Jaye Watson says:

        Marty, thank you for writing and reading my blog. And you are kind to defend me in comments. I personally approved each comment on the blog, because as I said in another response, if I really walk the walk, those who disagree with what I wrote have their right to express their opinion, although I’m not sure I would convert them to my point of view, no matter what I wrote. Thank you again. j

  99. Steve Kowch says:

    What an incredible piece of writing. It sums up everything “us” go through by chasing our dream to be in media. In my career I’ve been a newspaper reporter, radio reporter, news director, radio program director, a college professor and a consultant. I will share your story because I think it is important for people not in media to understand what we do and why we do it and the personal sacrifices we make to do it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thank you, Steve. I appreciate your kind words. Sounds like you’re a survivor, wearing many different hats. That’s the way it’s done. Thanks again.

  100. Barbara says:


  101. Rodger says:

    From a James Madison University class of ’86 alum, unabated prayers to her family. Alison was an inspiring individual to many. I feel privileged to have met her, a fellow JMU alum, at JMU’s School of Media Arts and Design (SMAD) Career Day events. She leaves behind a legacy of dedicated work ethic and kindness few can ever match. My heart is broken for now. But it will heal knowing we will always have a role model to whom we can aspire.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Rodger, my first job was at WHSV-TV in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I still love that town and I was on the campus of JMU almost weekly. Thank you for reading the blog and writing me.

  102. Ruth says:

    Well said. Thank you for sharing this.

  103. Melissa says:

    As my opinion as well as countless others in this inhumane uncaring at times world can be, one can not overlook the the loose morals that will eventually prevail our cutural decay. It saddens me that humans cannot communicate their feelings, have real empathy for others, or simply ask for help when they feel something just is not right. We turn a blind eye to people who just “aren’t right” and trust that this man who chose to take two, almost three innocent lives and then his own obviously had mental problems dating very far back. Unfortunately Adam and Alison were at the other end of the powder keg that eventually exploded. White or black, these mentally ill people who choose to take lives can blame it on whatever they want but the fact of the matter is that it’s just a scapegoat. What eventually comes out is their mental illness issues. After all, what mentally balanced person would feel the need to do such a horrific thing? Yet in this society these “seemingly normal” people walk around waiting to explode at any given moment while we feel we will never be the target of such a thing. But we continue to walk on eggshells and think to ourselves it won’t happen to us or one of our own. Hate to tell you people there are some extremely ill people out there so be careful what so say and do, because you won’t know until it HAPPENS….

  104. Alan Oda says:

    Hi Jaye — Checking in from Los Angeles, saw the link to your blog at TV News Check.

    I only had a brief time doing print and radio journalism in college, but I maintain a great interest in the media, including some freelance writing. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your essay. I know of the challenges of trying to find — and maintain — ones’ job in the crazy business of television news. To have journalists slain on the job — maybe I can see this during coverage of a battle in a war-torn location, but not on a local shoot — hit me surprisingly hard. It’s been years since I covered a story, yet somehow I feel as if I’d just lost members of the family.

    We viewers count on the Alison Parkers and Adam Wards to let us know what’s going on in our neighborhoods, let alone enlighten us about what’s going on outside our familiar surroundings, the good and the bad. I’m hoping the deaths of two young journalists can somehow inspire, rather than discourage, the next generation of reporters and photographers.

    That’s why I’m so impressed by your writing. Even if being on TV appears glamorous to some, there’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice involved in the business. Thinking good thoughts about everyone in the news business. And healing prayers to the families of Alison Parker, Adam Ward, and Vicki Gardner (injured in the shooting).

    Thank you — and your colleagues — for answering your calling.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Alan, thanks for taking the time to write me. I tend to think, once in the business, always in the business. Yes, the technology has changed — but the hours and the lifestyle are the same. It’s for a specific group of people for whom it’s worth it..despite the downsides..and you’re in that group with us. Thanks again for reading my blog.

  105. Janis Test says:

    Jaye, you nailed this. I’ve been out of ‘the business’ for almost 20 years, but everything you said is spot on. Bless Allison & Adam.

  106. Phil Clark says:

    I live in Moneta Virginia, about 3 miles from where these senseless killings occured.
    Vicki Gardner is the director of the Smith Mountin Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Chambers offices are located in Bridgewater Plaza, which is on Booker T Washington Highway (aka Route 122) close to the bridge that crosses the lake from Franklin to Bedford counties. Roanoke, which is the title of this blog, is 26 miles from where this tragedy took place.
    Just sayin !

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Phil, thank you for writing. You live in a beautiful part of the country. I’m from Maryland and have been in your neck of the woods. I am so grateful that Vicki survived. I did not intend to exclude Vicki..I was just writing about the events from the point of view of a fellow journalist. Thanks again.

  107. John Hudson says:

    I was a newspaper reporter, editor, copy editor and designer for years and years and years, many of them in Roanoke. Your column dredges up a lot of feelings, a lot of memories. You wrote excellently about why you’re “one of them,” and you did the young dead TV journalists a great service. Thank you.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thank you, John. Writing this blog dredged up a lot for me, too. It’s been a long time since I was a cub reporter, but no matter the market size, so many things stay the same — the hours, the live shots, and now, the risk that comes with those live shots. Thank you for reading my blog.

  108. Mark Bullock says:

    Those who found fault with this blog post have no experience in television news. Jaye, thank you for putting into words what so many of us in the business have been pondering. I feel so deeply for Allison and Adam. I think about the countless live reports during which I never would have noticed a gunman walking up behind me. I was too focused on my job. I know that Allison and Adam were trying to do a good job too. They did not deserve to have their lives cut short so senselessly. No. The gunman was NOT one of us.

    • Donna Hardin says:

      You are so right Mark! MOST folks saw it your way as well! Always some sour apples in the bunch!! God Bless you!!

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Mark, thanks so much for writing. Those of us in the business have all been in the same boat as Alison and Adam. It’s just so terrible. You can see someone out of the corner of your eye, but if you’re a pro, you’re not going to look away from the person you’re interviewing, or the camera, which gives others a lot of leverage. And I’m a ‘she.’ No matter, everyone thinks I’m a ‘he’ until they meet or see me. Thanks. j

  109. Monica Levy says:

    Well said. Thank You for sharing your heart.

  110. As Executive Director of GeorgiaCarry.Org I would point out that “he was not one of us” as well.

  111. Mark Sexton says:

    I appreciate your perspective. I work mostly behind the camera but have done enough in front to appreciate the skills of better communicators than I. May I respectfully suggest an opposing view to the notion that he was not one of us? Indeed he was. Being a journalist, while making some of us better known than most professions, does not make us better human beings. Thousands of years of history tell us that we are all capable of the unspeakable. That indeed is the human condition. There is evil in the world and humanity has been the greatest tool of it. Evil is a spiritual virus, constantly infecting, mutating, and expressing itself in new ways through us. Indeed, through me, even you. Modern man cannot bring himself to admit the plain truth his acts daily betray- we are sinful.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Mark, I appreciate your perspective. I don’t disagree with it. When I said he wasn’t one of us, I was referring to journalists, to those of us who try our best to do the next right thing every day. As a human being, he was one of ours, and clearly very troubled. But he does not represent the truth of our business, at least in my opinion. Thank you again for weighing in.

  112. Leslie Williams says:

    This was a wonderful tribute and not at all self serving. It gave a POV from the perspective of a young journalist on the beat…trying to turn in good work on a local station and not glorifying the day to day grind. Great insight. Thank you.

  113. Eric Engberg says:

    Your essay captured the very best of the spirit and integrity of professional journalism. It brought me to tears, given the circumstances. But thank you for saying things that we all need to be reminded of, even when a tragedy hasn’t occurred.

  114. Regina Silvia says:

    I know my husband commented earlier today and I just want to echo his thoughts. I have been that wife who is sitting at home watching his live shot and saw him shot at. He tells me he has had things thrown at him, people have shoved toward him, and on more than one occasion his photographer had to “protect” him from his “fans.” Oddly as a family (we have 2 children who lived with us during his news career)we never focused on the dangers he faced every day. Had we done so, I am sure I would have urged him to get out of the business. But I know he never would have; indeed, his next career has been as a professor of Journalism. You can imagine his angst this week as he thinks about all those young people he has helped enter into this field.

    Nevertheless, it is a noble field and in a democracy we would be lost without it.

    Thank you for your post; it really helped me clarify my thoughts on this dreadful situation.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Regina, thank you so much. My husband was a photographer in the business for 29 years, and we always worried about each other, unless we were together..then we always knew we would get through whatever craziness it was and get back home to our kids. thank you so much. Your husband has a very difficult job. Guiding future journalists — what a challenge. I’m guessing a lot of college students were shell shocked last week..because we were, too. Thanks again.

  115. Mike Monseur says:

    Powerful very powerful and oh so true. Thank you for sharing.

  116. Michael Gormley says:

    What a well written and informative article you have written, Jayne. I know a few people involved in the work you do and I never thought about all the difficulties you face. Sure there are rewards and satisfaction, but what a price these two colleagues paid. I really appreciate your insights and pray that you remain safe as you do your work. What would we be without a free media to expose the corruption that would go unnoticed. Keep up the good work you do and know it is greatly appreciated by so many. Thank you, thank you, thank you. XOXOXO

  117. Kevin Roy says:

    But he is one of us.
    Your words moved me to tears. It was possible because of The Second Amendment and all the money pumped into our fat, spineless politicians who feed off it and get re-elected because of such greed. That is the truth. Being a journalist is about telling the truth.
    Americans do not like to hear that.
    This does not happen in Canada, Europe NOR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD.
    The 2nd Amendment was never intended to protect Glock carrying criminals. But until that moment, he was one of us.
    So what must change?
    In loving memory to the victims.
    And thank you for writing that.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and to weigh in. best, j

      • Kevin Roy says:


        You are an excellent writer.

        Just wanted to say it should read: In loving memory of the victims.

        Thank you for making me think and for writing that touched my heart and made me cry.

        That is talent. After taking a closer look at your site, I am glad to see how talented you are. Forgive me, please, if I came off as a know it all.


        Kevin Roy

    • Mark Sexton says:

      The second amendment was meant to keep such a government as you describe off the backs of the people- not for hunting as many “progressives” like to say. Liberal “journalists” only like half the truth. Taking your own words and applying your half truth will indeed result in ONLY “criminals carrying Glocks”. Fortunately for the nation, there are 300,000,000 legally owned firearms. Even this uber liberal, dysfunctional, anti American government knows there are enough of us with guns that they can never take them away, even by executive fiat, or packing the Supreme Court with enough activists to contradict the 2nd amendment. Sorry, liberal “journalists” don’t like the truth so this will cause many readers to cringe but when you do, make no mistake, the brilliance of the founders was to know that government is not usually a friend of liberty, but eventually grows to threaten it. Now take that truth to your publics and do your job as the 4th estate.

26 Pings/Trackbacks for "Roanoke"
  1. […] And then there is great insight from a pair of former TV news people here and here […]

  2. […] a few times a year now, once you serve ‘in the trenches’ you are, as Jaye Watson says here, ‘one of us’. And so this morning’s tragedy feels, somewhat strangely, like […]

  3. […] In a blog post tonight, Jaye Watson, a TV reporter working in Atlanta, says it best. […]

  4. […] wrote a blog about the murder of Roanoke reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward. Watson’s blog, which has gone viral, boldly emphasizes the killer ‘was not one of […]

  5. […] Source: Roanoke […]

  6. […] wrote a blog about the murder of Roanoke reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward. Watson’s blog, which has gone viral, boldly emphasizes the killer ‘was not one of […]

  7. […] Fortunately, however, they are always going to be outnumbered by decent people. People like Jaye Watson, an Atlanta-based on-air person who typed these words yessterday. […]

  8. […] Source: Roanoke […]

  9. […] just a job. It may be hard to understand outside of the business, but it is a family. I recommend THIS blog by Jaye Watson […]

  10. […] Read more here: Jaye Watson “Roanoke” […]

  11. […] This post was originally published on Jaye Watson Online. […]

  12. […] This post was originally published on Jaye Watson Online. […]

  13. […] This post was originally published on Jaye Watson Online. […]

  14. […] This post was originally published on Jaye Watson Online. […]

  15. […] Every reporter has stories of interruptions, usually from fans or pranksters. Jaye Watson, a reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, referred to Parker when she blogged this: […]

  16. […] Every reporter has stories of interruptions, usually from fans or pranksters. Jaye Watson, a reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, referred to Parker when she blogged this: […]

  17. […] Every reporter has stories of interruptions, usually from fans or pranksters. Jaye Watson, a reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, referred to Parker when she blogged this: […]

  18. […] Every reporter has stories of interruptions, usually from fans or pranksters. Jaye Watson, a reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, referred to Parker when she blogged this: […]

  19. […] Every reporter has stories of interruptions, usually from fans or pranksters. Jaye Watson, a reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, referred to Parker when she blogged this: […]

  20. […] Every reporter has stories of interruptions, usually from fans or pranksters. Jaye Watson, a reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, referred to Parker when she blogged this: […]

  21. […] Every reporter has actually stories of interruptions, usually from supporters or pranksters. Jaye Watson, a reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, referred to Parker when she blogged this: […]

  22. […] Every reporter has stories of interruptions, usually from fans or pranksters. Jaye Watson, a reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, referred to Parker when she blogged this: […]

  23. […] Every reporter has stories of interruptions, usually from fans or pranksters. Jaye Watson, a reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, referred to Parker when she blogged this: […]

  24. […] Every reporter has stories of interruptions, usually from fans or pranksters. Jaye Watson, a reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, referred to Parker when she blogged this: […]

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