Part II: Anne Allred Talks About What it Takes to Find a Niche in Local Television News
Allred returns to anchor the news in St. Louis after working for the NBC affiliate in Boston for six years.
Yesterday, Anne Allred talked about returning to St. Louis and becoming the co-anchor of the 5 o'clock news on KSDK Channel 5 with Mike Bush. Today, Allred talks about what it takes to get into the business and the challenges she met along the way.
Patch: What are some skills a good TV reporter should learn in school?
AA: A student should be writing all the time. You have to love to write and be a strong writer first and foremost. You also have to be naturally curious and always be asking Why?
Sometimes you just have to be plain nosey. You have to be ready to take criticism. I’m so used to that. The higher you go in the market, the more critical bosses are.
So many things are nit-picked and little things really matter. There is always somebody right behind you, ready to take your job.
Patch: What age did you decide TV is what you wanted to do?
AA: It was during my internship at KSDK after my sophomore year in college. I wanted to be in journalism, but i wanted to be in print. I really wanted to work for Midwest Living magazine. Going home for the summer, I decided I would try and get a TV internship at KSDK. Ohio State did not have a broadcast journalism school when I went there.
I got to KSDK and completely liked it. So then, in my junior year, myself and four other students worked on creating the first student-run television station at Ohio State. I was stringing cable from the ceiling tiles. I was the first anchor and we didn't even have a teleprompter. I cut my hair into a bob because that’s what I thought that’s what you are supposed to do.
I was sweeping the floors and anchoring the news, all in the same day. And its still growing strong; Buckeye TV. Two weeks ago, Ohio State absorbed the station and now we will have paid staff to run our station and administrators in charge of it. I went out and had a martini to celebrate the good news.
Patch: Is it ever too early to start as a communicator?
AA: Absolutely not. In grade school I recruited my little brother James, five years younger than I am and we had the AJ Eagle, one sheet of computer paper, one day a week. We had weather for the week and we did articles about what our family members were up to. Each member got an article each week and my mother kept them all.
Patch: What are some of the big stories you got to work on?
AA: I covered the last three Olympics. I went to Beijing, Vancouver and London and that was awesome. I transferred out a month and worked at least 140 hours a week. Those are some of the most amazing stories I’ve done recently.
Before that, I covered the unit with the most casualties out of the Iraq War and it was out of Columbus, Ohio. I covered Unit 325 for about a year. I covered them when they got back home and became close with a lot of their families.
One of the guys injured by a road side bomb went to college with me. That probably made the biggest impact on me of anything I’ve ever done.
It was so heart wrenching but it was so impressive to see the sacrifice and life changing the men made along with their parents. It became my cause in Boston and I hope that happens here.
Patch: So why did you return back home?
AA I chose to come back to St. Louis because I want to invest in the community and I’ve changed my life several times. I thought about this for over a year. Do I want to stay in Boston, go to Chicago; go network or come home?
I wanted to make the best possible decision for myself, and to have no regrets. Almost every time I would come home. I would stop at Straubs and I would get pound of chicken salad and two boxes of toasted ravioli if I could get them into my suitcase and ration out those T-Ravs like they were golden nuggets. I would eat that chicken salad twice a day every day until every bit of it was gone.
I’m glad to be back.