NEA Women in Business: Diana Davis

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 271 views 

Class of 2019 Women in Business Diana Davis Anchor & Reporter KAIT Channel 8, Jonesboro

Residence: Jonesboro
Education: B.S. Journalism, University of Kansas
Professional background: Davis celebrated her 30th year at KAIT as a news anchor and reporter. Before that, she worked as a general assignment reporter and anchor at WIBW-TV for two years.

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far? Without a doubt, it’s watching my daughter become as passionate about her reporting as I am! I love it when I get to go out and report. She grew up watching me write at home and work. She saw how immersed I become in a story when I am trying to research a topic, get information from all angles and then pull it together in a meaningful way for the viewers.

Now, I sit back and marvel as to how we are two separate people — but so very much alike when it comes to our journalistic endeavors. It makes me so proud as a mother to see her love the job as much as I do.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? The best advice I have for someone wanting to pursue a career in my field would be to go after this career for the right reasons and to know what you are getting into ahead of time. It’s so important to complete an internship inside a television station. See how it operates. Learn about what’s involved in this career field.

Many times young people think our jobs are glamorous because we are in front of a camera. When you’re sent out to do live tornado coverage or there’s been a shooting somewhere, glamour plays no role in this job. Our focus is on getting the facts, the interview and writing our story as fast as we can.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? In the future, I’d like to write a book. There have been so many times in my career that I have thought one story was worth an entire book. It’s really hard to give an in-depth view to some stories that really unravel right before your eyes when you are the one tasked with telling the tale. When you get to know the people who were affected by a crime or the loss of a loved one, it’s difficult to share the depths of that pain in the one-and-a-half or two minutes we are given every night. That’s where I think it would be fascinating to approach the writing process from a different angle.

Do you feel like we’re getting closer to gender equality in the workplace? Since I have worked in the news business for 30 years, I have seen lots of changes. When I graduated college and took my first reporting job, newsrooms were male dominated. Don’t get me wrong. There were more women in the newsroom in the late ’80s than the days of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

But most of the women upon my entry into the business were not in managerial roles and they weren’t allowed “to age” on-air. What I mean is that most did not stay past the age of 40. The gender inequality was particularly pronounced in those early days. In the early years, like those revolving around the Christine Craft lawsuit, women were judged by their appearance and not their ability to report or deliver the news. I believe that has changed as viewers have come to see journalists on their local news station as not just another pretty face, but someone who truly cares about them, who works for them and who is someone they trust.

Yes, I believe you do have to have a professional appearance. But credibility and knowledge plays just as much a role in whether a woman should be hired now, as whether a man should be. The playing field has been leveled, and I actually think that we see more women than men on-air these days.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? First, I’d love to take my mother to Germany. Her grandmother was the first to emigrate from Sindelfingen, Germany. Secondly, I’d like to go on a medical mission trip with my son and our church. Thirdly, I think it would be fascinating to visit my future son-in-law’s native South Africa.

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