In August, as so many of us vividly remember, 24-year-old TV news reporter Alison Parker and 27-year-old Adam Ward, her cameraman, were gunned down in cold blood on live television. The two were on location shooting a light-hearted live shot for their morning show in Virginia when a disturbed former station employee ambushed and opened fire on both journalists, killing them while they were on air. Now the pair have been honored in a very special way that will help to keep their memory alive.
As many as 40,000 people saw the horrific tragedy happen in real time, and instantly, WDBJ’s newsroom was consumed with tears, terror, and utter shock as co-workers witnessed the horror.
Kelly Zuber, WDBJ’s news director, told CNN Money, “People just scattered from that computer to all corners of the newsroom, trying to get away from it.”
That shock and grief reverberated through journalists’ hearts and newsrooms around the world. What happened that fateful August day wasn’t preventable, and those in the industry knew that could have been any one of them on any given day. The news community quickly united with newsies changing their social media profile pictures to color bars observing that all journalists and camera operators are essentially Alison and Adam. Many social media posts were also followed with the hashtag #WeStandWithWDBJ as people showed their support for the station.
Now, only two months later, media industry colleagues have presented one of the business’s highest honors to Alison’s and Adam’s families and news station, WDBJ. Both Alison Parker and Adam Ward posthumously received the Ted Yates Award, “given annually to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional and personal qualities in their contribution to television news and public affairs.”
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – National Capital and Chesapeake Bay Chapter presented the Emmy statuettes to WDBJ anchor, Chris Hurst, who was in a serious personal relationship with Alison Parker and living with her at the time of the shooting, and members of the victims’ families. A third Ted Yates Award was bestowed upon the WDBJ-TV staff for “showing courage in the face of tragedy.”
h/t Sky News