Isabella Abbott | Features Editor
Jan. 19, 2023
Some people believe that a news reporter’s day starts when he or she sits at a desk to look and read from a teleprompter when the camera goes live. However, a reporter’s day actually starts hours before their live program, and involves finding the best stories possible for their target audiences.
This rings true for Baylee Martin, a television anchor/reporter at WTRF 7News in Wheeling, W.Va., who became a professional news reporter shortly after graduating from Duquesne last May. She says a lot of people don’t realize what goes into her day-to-day schedule.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask me, ‘Well, you just work for two hours and sit in and read from the teleprompter,’” Martin said. “I think [I’ve] even [had] family members who have asked me about my job [that] are like, ‘Well, don’t you just go and sit and look nice on camera?’ No, I actually am rushing up until the last minute to make sure that I have everything that I need to have done before I can finally sit and be in front of the camera, and then that’s [how] I know everything’s done.”
Not only is she trying to finish her stories on time throughout her long work day, but Martin is also uploading and editing her own videos for the newscast that’ll be live later that night.
“I come back to the station and upload all of my footage, and that’s when I put everything together … by myself,” Martin said. “So that’s when I’ll go through my interviews, listen to them, clip the best quotes that I want to use and write out all of my own scripts.”
When it’s finally time to anchor, Martin feels at ease after a day full of interviews and edits.
“Everyone has a common goal, and it’s amazing watching everyone during the day, you know, being scatterbrained and rushing and then finally having a product at the end of the day,” Martin said. “It’s the most satisfying thing in the world.”
She felt that same feeling of satisfaction during her time in college while being a part of Duquesne Student Television, where her love for reporting and writing also grew immensely.
“I always kind of knew that I would end up doing something that required me to meet people, talk to people, but I just didn’t know where to channel that,” Martin said. “So I think getting into those extracurriculars like DSTV and The Duke allowed me to realize, ‘Okay, I can actually make a career out of this. And instead of it being an extracurricular or something outside of class, I can really focus my energy on this and turn it into something when I get out of here.’”
Martin did exactly that. She was able to channel her energy into her reporting, which allowed her to start her career right out of college. That’s an accomplishment she’s grateful for, especially since it’s not easy work.
“You have to sit there for hours and have to have a creative mind to be able to sit there and put words to paper. I’m using every part of my brain every single day,” Martin said. “Am I saving lives as a doctor out here? Can’t say I am, but in a way, I’m using my brain to save lives in a different way. I might be saving a life based on an accident on a highway. I might be saving a life based on a fire that is down the street.”
Someone who saw Martin’s passion for reporting first-hand at Duquesne Student Television is Michela Hall, who was president of the club at the time. She said Martin was always willing to learn more.
“Baylee was extremely exciting, and she really had her hands in everything,” Hall said. “She’s always a team player, she always delivers when you ask her to and she’s very supportive of other people and other people’s projects too.
“She was there behind the scenes just as much as she was in front of the camera, and I think that’s really important and just shows someone’s character of how hard they can work. They don’t just want the spotlight, they want to learn, too, and that’s important.”
By being the youngest reporter on her staff, Martin is able to bring a different perspective to her career through social media. After seeing other reporters post videos on TikTok during their shifts, she decided to follow suit, which allowed her to gain followers and respect.
“I went live on TikTok one day, and I set up my phone and went live through the entire newscast,” Martin said. “Before I knew it, there were 100 people watching. Then there were 200 people watching … Then there were 5,000 people watching.”
By having a good social media presence, Martin reiterated how important it can be for her field.
“Honestly, if you’re going to be in this business, social media is the wave of what’s coming up right now,” Martin said. “I think social media is a huge part that you show inside your life to people you don’t even know and give them a sense of, ‘She’s a human being, we feel like we can trust her.’”
Her journey at Duquesne was just the start of her career. Now, Martin has the opportunity to showcase her personality to her viewers, and she loves it.
“I love getting to show my personality. I love getting to have fun with [co-anchor Steve Moore],” Martin said. “My favorite part about my job, honestly, is probably getting to learn new things every single day.”