Written by Grace Hare
“You guys are so tough to be in this situation and to be thriving,” said local news anchor Katherine Whaley. “This will be a tough time, but it will make you so much stronger.”
With many unprecedented changes during this time, there have still been a multitude of blessings in our midst. From the overwhelming generosity of independent businesses supporting our community with fresh bread and staple goods, to brave individuals donating their blood; hundreds of people, globally recognized as celebrities, or as local heroes are working around the clock against Covid-19. The world is standing bravely against the fear generated by coronavirus.
Recently, journalism students across the district got an opportunity to interview ABC channel 13 news anchor and journalist Katherine Whaley. As a successful journalist, traffic reporter and food critic for the station, she offered some words of encouragement and advice for our community.
“Adaption is key to surviving times like these and for pushing your career and any aspect of your life forward,” Whaley said. She explains that the news station has had to change drastically to fit the developing regulations for Covid 19, but that everyone is working hard to still maintain some sort of normal.
“This has changed the station for everyone. The anchors have had to physically change their news delivery, sitting at least six feet apart during the show. The writers are working from home, and are relying more on emails and video chats which has definitely changed the lines of communication. It’s a whole new process,” she said. Despite this, she encourages everyone to take advantage of any new resources they can. Luckily, we live during a time of advanced connectivity because of technology.
“The station normally visits classrooms, but social distancing has given us a chance to explore new ways of connecting with students. Visiting virtually has a lot of advantages and is almost a more intimate way to contact the classroom,” said Whaley.
She also took time to give pieces of advice for students on the importance of being driven, especially during this time when students have even more time than normal to develop their interests and skill sets. “Don’t let the things that look like roadblocks in your life stop you from accomplishing your dreams, because they will push you forward and make you a better worker,” said Whaley.
That advice also carries into many aspects of pursuing careers and in advancing in your professional life. “In your life there will be people who tell you no to your dreams, but always think of ways you can make it possible,” she said. For Whaley, success developed because she was unafraid to take a leap of faith in her future.
After graduating from Rice University, she had planned to pursue being a lawyer but took a chance on being a news anchor for channel 13. After traveling to several different states and to different news stations she realized she was passionate about her job and tried different types of journalism during those years. Ultimately, Whaley credits her career to her willingness to try something new. “Always ask for what you want and be open minded to other opportunities,” said Whaley.
She encourages students to take full advantage and recognize the historical impact and the severity of this moment for every generation to come. “I really encourage everyone to write these experiences and things down, even if it feels like nothing notable happened. Just to help you process your thoughts, write one or two sentences a day. It’s personal journalism for yourself, but right now, it’s important to document this time during our lives,” she said.
Whaley left us with encouraging remarks about enjoying the season of life we are in, however unsuspected and strange. “Enjoy the things in this experience that are good. Think about where you are and stay connected to each other. Stay in touch with your forever friends, and in touch with your teachers and all the people who care about you. Relish these moments, as difficult as they are, while we have them.”
Local news anchor Kathrine Whaley stands in front of the ABC Channel 13 news station.