As the news spread Wednesday morning that two journalists were killed just doing their jobs, it moved us all as a news team and family here at WSPA.
Just a few years into promising news careers with WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia, 24-year old Alison Parker and 27-year old Adam Ward were a team, slogging through early morning stories and live reports. Pictures show them in heavy snow gear and orange traffic vests, but never without bright smiles.
Those that knew them say they loved them and their death is especially hard.
“Alison was a sweetheart. She’s the kind of person that lit up the room as soon as she walked in and she’s also the kind of person that you knew was going places,” said Kay Norred, a former news director who worked with Alison as an intern in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
On air, colleague’s say Alison’s reporting was full of energy. She loved what she was doing. She also was in love with her boyfriend and fellow WDBJ colleague, Chris Hurst, who took Facebook to share his pain and celebrate the time they shared.
Equally in love was Adam Ward, who recently proposed to his fiancé. Ward spent his time behind the camera and out of the limelight, but coworkers say he went the extra mile to get a job done.
As journalists, it’s our job everyday to tell the story, never thinking that two of our own would become the story. It reminds us of how small this world of TV news is and just how much our heart breaks by this and how close it hits to home.
“These people aren’t coming back and these people just went to work today doing their job like we’re all about to do today,” said WSPA reporter, Mike Manzoni.
Manzoni said the news is unbelievable.
“I think the first thing that went through my head is that it could be any one of us,” said Manzoni.
It’s a thought shared by WSPA’s General Manger, Bob Romine.
“It’s a tragic thing and it really brings to reality very quickly in your mind the exposure that your people have. Anytime we lose someone in our industry like that, it’s tragic,” said Romine.
Today, our hearts are in Roanoke.