On Wednesday morning, two employees of the news station WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia, were shot to death while doing a live television report. Alison Parker, a 24-year-old reporter, and Adam Ward, a 27-year-old videographer, were filming a story at Bridgewater Plaza, near Moneta in southwest Virginia. Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was also injured in the shooting while being interviewed. It's heartbreaking that Parker and Ward died while doing their jobs, and it's even more shocking that it happened on live TV. Other journalists responded to the shooting with horror and disbelief.
Parker, a Virginia native, was the morning reporter for WDBJ7, where she started out as an intern. She studied journalism at James Madison University, and according to her WDBJ bio, she enjoyed whitewater kayaking, playing with her parents' dog, and attending community theater events. Kimberly McBroom, a WDBJ anchor, described Parker as a "rock star" during the station's live coverage of the crime, saying, "You throw anything at that girl, and she could do it."
Ward, also from Virginia, worked at WDBJ since 2011 as a cameraman, photographer, and videographer. He earned a degree in communications and media studies from Virginia Tech, and was engaged to a producer at the station who reportedly saw the shooting happen live from the control room. WDBJ spokesperson Mike Morgan told The Independent that Ward was the station's "go-to guy."
WDBJ7 published condolences for the victims' families on its website, and many reporters and staff members tweeted their shock and grief. It's an incredibly sad day for the entire news industry when reporters and news staff are killed on the job. Journalists around the country expressed their sympathies for the WDBJ family, recognized Parker's and Ward's excellent journalistic skills, and called for people to stop watching the video of the shooting.
Images: WDBJ7 (1)