Alison Parker And Adam Ward: Good Journalists Gone Too Soon
Mornings are made by routine. The alarm that warbles at the usual hour, the smell of coffee, the sound of familiar voices.
Those of us who work the morning shift grow to appreciate the intimacy we have with those who tune in. People wake to our voices. We come into their kitchens. They hear us as they shower, shave and brush their teeth. People like to tell us, "I wake up with you," and I still laugh to hear that.
Alison Parker and Adam Ward were at the start of their careers when they were shot and killed this week as they interviewed a local Chamber of Commerce official on Roanoke, Virginia's WDBJ TV. Adam Ward was 27; Alison Parker was 24. But they were already an everyday part of people's lives in southwest Virginia.
"They were in our house every morning," Trisha Stump of Roanoke said simply, and over these past few days people have put roses, candles, notes and balloons in front of their station.
"I watch Channel 7 news every day, and all of you are like family," wrote Lacy Smith on the station's website. "Two beautiful children lost in their prime."
A woman named Ann Love wrote, "When you all laugh, I laugh ... Please know your 'on air' family shares in the loss of these precious two young lives."
You can find links to some of the stories Alison Parker and Adam Ward did together on WDBJ. Alison once got all taped up with sensors to let doctors observe her sleeping habits, and joked that Adam couldn't sleep — because he had to stay up to photograph her sleeping. She strapped on roller skates to interview the Star City Girls roller derby team, and struggled to stay on her feet, skate, smile and talk for the two minutes of the live shot.
They were good journalists, who didn't do stories about war and peace, stock market plunges, political machinations or national security. But they produced two minutes, on the fly, that could tell you something, and often make you smile. Watch their work and you get a sense that they were two young people who got a little giddy about all the neat things they got to do. They learned things, cared for people, had fun, and passed it along, which are sound and worthy reasons to get into broadcasting.
We don't know what Alison Parker and Adam Ward would have gone on to accomplish in the business they clearly loved. But they'd already done something valuable: they brightened a lot of mornings for people in their town.
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