COLUMBUS, Ga. (MEDIA GENERAL) – Wednesday’s shooting deaths of a TV news reporter and photographer in Roanoke, Va., is hitting too close to home in newsrooms across the country.
Alison Parker, the WDBJ7 reporter killed, was a former intern at WHSV in Harrisonburg, Va., under the direction of Kay Norred.
Norred, now the news director at WRBL in Columbus, Ga., called Parker a “sweetheart” who could “light up the room as she walked.”
Even as an intern, Norred said she knew Parker was going places.
“You knew there were certain interns who were just going to make it big. That just had stars aligned for them. She was one of them,” she said.
Parker grew up in the Roanoke area and dreamed of working in the market.
“Her hometown was Roanoke so for her to work in a community where her parents could watch her everyday was a big deal for her, and that was her dream,” Norred recalled. “When she was an intern at WHSV her dream was to make it in her hometown and we worked very hard to make that dream come true.”
Norred continued, “She deserved so much more of life. And it was just a shock. She was so full of joy. Everything she did was such a happy experience for her and to have it end this way it’s just a tragedy.”
At WSHV, Parker frequently worked with reporter Deon Guillory. He remembered her as a “super intern” who was willing to learn and do whatever needed to be done.
“She was always smiling. She was energetic. She was what I like to call a super intern,” said Guillory, who is now an anchor and reporter at WJBF in Augusta, Ga.
“I really want people to know that Alison was a great person, she cared about people and it shows you that life is so short,” he added.
Her boyfriend posted a tribute on Facebook Wednesday.