August 27, 2015
We are all WDBJ

Many in our newsroom were shaken by the senseless murders of two bright, young journalists: reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27. It hits so close to home. 

My news feed is filled with posts from friends and former colleagues who were close with these two. My heart breaks for those who knew and loved them.

For those of us who work in this business, it is easy to put ourselves in their shoes, which is why I think so many are having a hard time grappling with this. We see tragedy every day in news. We all deal with that in our own way.

But today, we are all Alison and Adam. We’ve all been young and hungry. We’ve all worked that crazy and exhausting morning shift. We’ve all formed that strong bond with our photographers. Some of my best friends in the world worked in the news trenches with me. So many of us have met our spouses in newsrooms. Now, these two have their lives cut short. Their newsroom family mourning them. No weddings in their future. No seeing their dreams for their lives realized.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the parents of these two today. My parents were bursting with pride when I was getting started and living my dream, working in my hometown. How proud Adam and Alison’s parents must have been of them…how devastated they are now. 

TV News is a sink or swim business. It is not for everyone. People get fired. Being fired is no reason to lash out and take the lives of your colleagues. Many who lose their jobs in news land on their feet. If you do get fired, and I’ve worked with many who have, re-evaluate your career, your attitude and yourself. Look in the mirror. Ask: is this a sign that it is time for a career change? Read Who Moved My Cheese? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and find a station that’s a better fit.  If you do all this and still want to murder innocent people in cold blood, please get the help you so obviously need. There is never a reason to resort to violence. 

On safety in the field, I’ve been in some pretty bad situations and bad places, even had a gun pulled on me and my photographer one night (long story). Still, something about having a camera with us always made me feel secure. The thought being: some goofball may make faces or say something offensive during our live shot, but no one would hurt us - they’d be on camera and who would be that stupid? I’ve been lucky enough to work for managers who have said, “If you don’t feel safe, you don’t have to stay there.” So, for this to happen to these journalists while on live TV and doing a feature story…well, that is just hard to fathom. 

I didn’t know Alison or Adam – but I sure feel like I did when I look at their pictures and as I learn more about their lives.

We are all WDBJ today.

Copyright 2015 AshleaOnAir. All rights reserved.


Well written, Ashlea. What a tragic event this was, it make one think why this evil coward decided to end two beautiful lives. Sad.