May/Jun
2015

How They Do It All: The Women of ABC 6 News

Written by By Laurie Simon, Photography by Dawn Sanborn Photography
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The women of ABC 6 News love what they do. They appreciate that journalism is a dynamic field full of creative freedoms. They welcome opportunities to meet new people, learn, craft and deliver a well-told story—and it shows. 

 

“I get to learn something new and meet someone new every day,” says Laura Lee, co-anchor of the 10 p.m. newscast. 

“Work never gets boring,” morning co-anchor Brianna Long agrees. “Maybe it’s a breaking news story, maybe a fun story out on a farm, but whatever it is I’m telling stories and meeting new people, and that’s what I love about this job.”

In a world where crime and tragedy are a daily occurrence, the news can also be uplifting. “One of my favorite parts of the job is telling positive stories that encourage and inspire viewers,” says evening news co-anchor Betsy Singer. 

For sports managing editor Jeanna Radz, storytelling local sports is especially rewarding. “There is such a genuine quality of emotion, passion and support in a community this size. It’s more than a highlight, a final score, or a leading scorer; it’s a story and it means a lot to people.”

The faces and voices of ABC 6 are familiar off-screen as well. In addition to their regular news shifts, Long and Lee often film special segments or report from the field. On an inclement weather day, meteorologist Cindy Morgan arrives at the office well before her usual 3 a.m. start time and delivers updates as long as they’re needed. Radz is a regular figure on the Friday night lights scene, traipsing up and down the fields with her bulky news camera, and Singer and morning co-anchor Rachel Wick often host or emcee local charity events. 

Winning at Work

The pressures of working in a newsroom can put a lot of stress on families. But from snow days to chickenpox, daycare and school plays, the environment at ABC 6 makes being a mom easier, say the women. 

Because the news is delivered over different shifts throughout the day, flexibility is a reality for everyone. “I go into work very early, but my schedule allows me to spend a lot of time with my kids,” says morning co-anchor Long. “I love that I’m home every day when my son gets off the school bus.”

As colleagues and mothers, the women have learned to lean on each other. “We’re very supportive of one another when it comes to balancing work and family,” says Wick. “We never question if someone has to leave early, even if that means leaving one person with tasks that were to be completed together.”

Equally important to their professional success is their relationship with ABC 6’s management team, who the women say champion values like mutual respect, trust and balance. “They’ve found a way to foster an environment where I can keep my life in focus and still be successful at my job,” says Morgan. “There’s a real effort to be human and make sure we keep things in perspective.” 

LAURA LEE, 10 p.m. Co-anchor

Husband: Abe Knudson
Kids: Nevelyn, 10; Halle, 8; Konur, 5; and Haakon, 2 months

Working-mom mantra: If you can dream it, you can do it.

My life: Loved.

The greatest lesson my mother gave me: To love. Show kindness and compassion towards others, the world around you and the work you do. 

The greatest lessons I hope to impart to my kids: To love and appreciate all that they have been given.

What my kids think about seeing me on television: They think it’s cool, but when I go to school and their classmates say, “Hey, it’s the TV lady!” my kids keep me humble by saying, “No, it’s just my mom.”

Mother’s Day plans: The kids say their plans are a secret, but they love family day with me.

BRIANNA LONG, Morning Co-anchor and Reporter

Kids: Aiden, 7; Lucy, 3 1/2
Significant other: Billy

Working-mom mantra: Don’t forget to breathe!

My life: CrazyFunScaryAdventurousLovingAmazing.

The greatest lesson my mother gave me: Work hard. If you want something in life, you have to work for it and earn it.

The greatest lessons I hope to impart to my kids: Be kind. We have this conversation on an almost daily basis. No matter what happens, I want my kids to be nice to others. 

What my kids think about seeing me on television: Aiden says, “I think it’s awesome and cool.” Lucy says, “AB six news!” She often forgets the C. 

Mother’s Day plans: Aiden says, “I’m going to buy you flowers and chocolates and a video game and I’m going to be good.” Lucy giggles.

CINDY MORGAN, Morning Meteorologist 

Husband: Brian 
Kids: Grant, 1 1/2

Working-mom mantra: Poop happens. Seriously, I have two dogs and a baby… it’s everywhere! Life is not about what happens to you; it’s about how you respond.

My life: Adventurous.

The greatest lesson my mother gave me: To be confident in myself.

The greatest lessons I hope to impart to my child: To be confident in himself. 

What my son thinks about seeing me on television: Brian answers, “He will look at the TV a bit differently, as if he sees his mom but doesn’t seem to fully grasp it yet.” 

Mother’s Day plans: Last year was simply spending a day together as a family. This year will be a bit more action-packed, especially if good weather is in the forecast.

JEANNA RADZ, Sports Managing Editor  

Significant other: Zach
(Furry) kid: Payton, our 2-1/2-year-old rescue dog from Mississippi. She is named after Peyton Manning, a cliche coming from a sports girl. 

Working-woman mantra: It’s all about balance. 

My life: Fulfilling.

The greatest lesson my mother gave me: To be kind. My mother is the most genuine and selfless human I have ever met. I get my heart from her and my work ethic (and sports passion) from my dad.

The greatest lessons I hope to impart to my kids: 

Work ethic and heart, just as my parents did to me.

What my (furry) kid thinks about seeing me on television: It’s funny, she gets both excited and confused. 

She has adapted to my work life very well.

Mother’s Day plans: Payton and I will probably enjoy a 

hike and a day off.

BETSY SINGER, Evening Co-anchor

Husband: Ken Quattrin
Kids: Conner, 10; Caden, 8 

Working-mom mantra: Pray more, worry less.

My life: Thankful.

The greatest lesson my mother gave me: Love with all your heart. Mistakes are going to happen, but if you love your children from the depths of your heart, they’ll always know how to give and receive love.

The greatest lessons I hope to impart to my kids: Having faith in God, trusting that you’re never alone, and knowing that truth gives character is more valuable than anything else in this world.

What my kids think about seeing me on television: They rarely see me on TV, but when they do, Caden will critique my hair or outfit. Connor says he finds it odd when kids think it’s a big deal what I do for a living. 

Mother’s Day plans: Connor said, “I can’t tell you that, but I can give you a hint. It’s something that you can eat.”  

RACHEL WICK, Morning Co-anchor 

Husband: Eric 
Kids: Zachary, 3; Collin, 9 months

Working-mom mantra: Don’t go crazy. Sometimes I just have to stop, breathe, collect my thoughts and then move on.

My life in one word: Pleasing.

The greatest lesson my mother gave me: To be patient. If your child is happy, healthy and surrounded by love, you shouldn’t question your ability as a parent. 

The greatest lessons I hope to impart to my kids: To be strong, polite and offer help often. 

What my kids think about seeing me on television: Zachary says, “I see Mommy on the TV show! I like Mommy.”

Mother’s Day plans: Have a good meal and spend the day together.