welcome to my professional playground
I’ve always considered it a privilege to have the responsibility of informing people about what’s going on in their neighborhood and around the world.
Writing, reporting, anchoring, producing & politics are passions of mine. So, the You Decide 2012 segments for CW17 & WOKV in Jacksonville, FL was some of the most fun I’ve ever had as a journalist. I love covering the ins and outs of government, and having complete creative control was a blast!
There were early signs that I had a heart for reporting the news, like coloring my own magazine in kindergarten and recording myself on cassette just talking and reading books. But my first opportunity to experience my dream came in 8th grade. I became a teen columnist for the St. Petersburg Times - I was an original X-Team Member!
From there, I went on to write and become Editor-In-Chief for my high school newspaper, Packer Press. It’s where I first learned to hold people accountable and not be afraid to raise some hell.
I’m a proud J-School Grad of the University of Florida! The TV & Radio News Program taught me the real hustle and grind of everyday reporting. I anchored, reported and produced for TV & Radio while at UF. I was in the AM 850 WRUF newsroom for the 2000 Presidential Election/Debacle. On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was producing the noon show for WUFT-TV.
While in college, I earned an award from the Society of Professional Journalists, served as president for our chapter of the Radio-Television News Directors Association, and attended the RTNDA Conference in Las Vegas. Even my intern days in Orlando (WKMG-TV) and Tampa (WFTS-TV) were great! I produced my own weekend show, covered breaking news, and swam with a false killer whale!
The post-college years are when the adventure REALLY began. While working in Orlando (Central Florida News 13, WDBO, Star 94.5, Metro Networks), Jacksonville (WOKV & 102.9 The Point) and Atlanta (Fox 5 Atlanta, 24/7 News & NBC News Radio, iHeartMedia, Georgia News Network, Hot 107.9, Praise 102.5, Majic 107.5, BOOM 102.9 & 97.5), I covered local and national news, heartbreaking crime and disaster stories, the thrill of election season, local teams making it to the championship games, and of course…HURRICANES!
My reports, newscasts, and research have appeared on CNN Headline News, MSNBC, BBC News, ABC News Radio, Fox News Radio, Fox 5 Atlanta, NBC News Radio, iHeartRadio, several TV stations and more than 1,500 radio stations across the country. Many of those stories have stuck with me. Not just because some were extremely tragic, but also how communities pulled together: The ambush shooting of Richard Collier, which ended his career as a Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman. Interviewing the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on continuing her father’s legacy. Speaking with the father of a 9/11 victim who found new hope after a tremendous loss. Covering the return of soldiers from war – those who lived and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
And of course, I fulfilled my love of covering politics! I'm most proud of my exclusive interview with Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Biden. I also reported from the campaign stops of President Obama, President George W. Bush, Republicans John McCain, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Marco Rubio, and so many more.
Most days were work, but some days were play! I interviewed Actor Russell Crowe (and he stole my chair during the news conference!) I covered the joyous anarchy in Gainesville after the Gator Football Team won the 2008 BCS National Championship Game (a fraternity set a couch on fire in the middle of the street!) I went flying with airshow stuntmen in an old WWII style plane (almost got sick, but it was worth it!) I went out to sea with the Navy as they trained to take pirates into custody (almost got sick again, but still worth it!) I interviewed Game of Thrones Actor Finn Jones at DragonCon (OMG!) And to feed the 80’s geek in me, I did a year on a retro pop radio station – my DJ name was “Denise” (Haha!) And when I wasn’t taking myself too seriously, I helped organize a legendary fundraiser known as Newsroom Street Fight.
I’ve slept on cold newsroom floors. Been soaked head-to-toe in a storm. Been pushed aside by the henchman of a certain Democratic politician who didn’t want to answer my questions. I ignited the rage of Rush Limbaugh. And I’ve been the main course for some angry fire ants. But it was all worth it! For my efforts, I was honored to serve as a board member for the Florida Associated Press. My work has garnered a Marconi Award nomination, Edward R. Murrow Regional Awards, and awards from the Associated Press.
But the most cherished rewards I received, were simple signs of appreciation from the public. I once had a father call me to say his 10-year-old son loved listening to me on the radio, because he wanted to become a broadcaster, too. I still get messages from fantastic people who say they miss hearing me on the air in their hometown. I was also really proud to receive this letter from a veteran who thanked me for my piece about the poor conditions at the Jacksonville VA Clinic:
THANKS! Outstanding reporting regarding the Veterans Administration local clinic…I have to take my hat off to WOKV for such an informative report. As a veteran and outpatient of the local VA Clinic, you guys I can tell you that you guys got it right. Keep up the good work.
Like I said, totally worth it.