A Special Conversation With News 6 Anchor, Ginger Gadsden
Q: While in high school, did you have any idea you wanted to go into broadcasting?
GG: Broadcasting never crossed my mind. I really thought I would be a schoolteacher or do something where I worked with young kids.
Q: How did your career start as a news anchor?
GG: It was my sophomore year at The University of South Carolina, and I had not yet declared a major. At the time, if you had a certain number of hours or credits you had to declare a major to move on. I said something to my Theater and Speech professor, and he said I would make a really good news anchor. I was confused and then he explained I had a strong presence, good voice and was good at drawing in the other students in the class during my presentations. His class helped me overcome my fear of public speaking. He helped me get an internship at the local NBC station in Columbia (WIS-TV). It was an internship in weather, but my professor said he knew I could find my way into the newsroom. He was right.
Q: How did you prepare for your first news anchor job?
GG: My first time anchoring was actually while I was still in college. I would do the early morning news briefs or cut ins every half hour and then head to class. It was at a time when you would rip copy from the AP newswire in the newsroom. I would stay up late watching the 11 o'clock news terrified of missing a big story. I also read the State Newspaper which was the newspaper of record. My first full time job was actually as a weather anchor at WOLO-TV. It was the ABC affiliate in Columbia SC.
Q: Can you share with our audience one of your most memorable events you’ve covered?
GG: It would have to be any story I reported on during September 11, 2001. I was out of the country when the attacks happened. I was in Africa with friends and couldn't get back home for a couple of weeks. At the time I was living in Washington, DC. Going to the site of the Pentagon was mind-blowing. But I would have to say going to New York a few weeks later was surreal. Everything was still covered in thick ash. Looking through storefront windows was like looking at the day it happened. Time seemed to have stopped. Walking around and interviewing people was both heartbreaking and hopeful. People were devastated but there was a resolve they all seemed to have.
Q: How do you handle difficult or emotional stories?
GG: I actually let myself feel the story. I feel what everyone else is feeling. We are always told as journalists the story is not about you. But if it's about someone in my community who is hurting how can I separate myself from that? It's painful to see people in your community hurting or suffering. I've shed some tears on air and I have to say I don't regret it. The day I no longer feel any emotional attachment to what happens where I live, then I have to find another career.
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
GG: There is no such thing as a typical day. It really is one of the alluring things about my work. No two days are alike. I start my day by checking my emails and my social media accounts. If something big is happening you've already been notified by a breaking news alert. The news cycle really dictates your day. To some people that may sound like a nightmare but if you love the news then this is what you signed up for.
Q: Have you ever had that the one embarrassing moment on TV you can share with us?
GG: You don't have enough space here for me to tell you all of my embarrassing moments so I will share just one. I was working in Indianapolis, IN. I was a weather anchor at the Fox affiliate.
It was my first winter there and I had just moved from Columbia, South Carolina. I didn't even have a coat. First snow of the season and my boss tells me I am doing weather outside that night. I run to the mall and get a really cute coat from The Limited. Bright red so it pops on television. I soon learned cute does not equal warm. As I am standing on the sidewalk in front our building the photographer is standing inside the doorway with the camera for the weather segment.
At the time, it was the coldest I had ever been. Halfway through the forecast my face is frozen and I am cold from head to toe. The photographer is touching his face and motioning to me. I am trying to look at the small monitor so I can see my maps. The photographer keeps motioning. After I toss back to the anchors in the studio I go inside and see myself in the mirror. My sweet photographer was trying to tell me I had a very snotty nose. I couldn't feel a thing on my face by my soul was crushed.
Q: Do you have any advice you can share for those women who may want to pursue a career in Broadcasting?
GG: I would say be true to who you. are. I remember watching other people I admired in business and tried to incorporate some of their ways into my style. That never worked because it wasn't me. Cameras are really good at detecting fake or insincere people. I didn't grow into my own skin until I stopped trying on other people's personalities. I am the best at being me.
Q: What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
GG: I am an introvert and painfully shy.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
GG: My mom. I am 1 of 15 kids and my mom was a leader alongside my dad, in our home. She was tough but fair. It was clear she loved being our mom. We knew when we were at school, church, or work that we were representatives of our family. She taught me to respect others even if don't agree with them. She was always there, encouraging us even as adults. She sacrificed and never complained. She was tough and tender at the same time. There will never be another woman like her. She passed away in 2017 and I miss her every single day.
Q: What is the key to success when communicating with the public?
GG: Honesty. People don't want perfection they just want you to tell them the truth.
Thirty Five Things About News Anchor Ginger Gadsden
1. If you could share a meal with any four individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
Both of my parents.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
2. What's your favorite family tradition?
Summer vacations with my family
3. What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?
4. What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Watch really bad Sci-Fi movies
5. Who is the most fascinating person you’ve ever met?
6. What was the last book you really got into?
All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles
7. What’s the most amazing adventure you’ve ever been on?
8. Among your friends, what are you best known for?
Being funny and tall
9. Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever been?
Canmore Caves in Canada. Our guide asked us to turn off our headlamps and I’ve never been in a place so dark in my entire life. I was uncomfortable
10. What’s your favorite international food?
Until you've had pizza or pasta in Italy then you haven't had pizza or pasta
11. Who is your favorite author?
12. What’s your favorite app on your phone?
13. Best and worst flavor ice cream?
There are no bad flavors
14. What TV shows did you watch when you were a kid?
We didn't watch a lot of TV as kids, but Saturday morning cartoons were a must
15. What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve done?
A friend said she wanted to plan a trip abroad and asked if I wanted to join her. I told her sure and I didn't really need to know where we were going. I just wanted a stamp on my passport.
16. What’s your favorite quote or saying?
There's enough room for everyone at the table. I don't know if someone famous said it but it's how I grew up.
17. If you unexpectedly won $10,000, what would you spend it on?
I would use it to start a scholarship fund in my parents’ name for low-income students
18. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I have dogs so definitely a morning person.
19. What would your perfect vacation look like?
My perfect vacations are filled with lots of hiking and being outside with beautiful scenery. I love a place that has water and mountains.
20. Favorite Dessert?
A very flaky peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream
21. Favorite City?
I love Orlando, but my home city of Charleston has my heart.
22. Tell me about the best vacation you’ve ever taken.
I recently went to Antarctica. It was surreal in a way I don't know quite how to describe. It was being on another planet. You really get to take in nature because there are no gift shops, amusement parks or restaurants. It's you, lot of penguins, seals, whales and birds. The air is so clean and it's beautifully quiet.
23. Do you read reviews, or just go with your gut?
I read but don't take everything to heart. The gut always wins.
24. What’s your big passion?
Mentoring young people especially young girls
25. What’s your signature drink?
I make a mean, spicy and delicious Bloody Mary.
26. What would you sing at Karaoke night?
Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance with Somebody
27. What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?
Love watching football.
I love playing kickball. Please don't judge me for that.
28. Have you ever met anyone famous? Who?
When I worked in Washington, I went to a couple of White House Correspondents Dinners. I remember running up to Ben Affleck and asking for a picture.
29. Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?
30. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?
Nothing. Everything has made me the person I am and I am good with that.
31. What were you like in high school?
Shy, awkward, and somehow a little brave
32. What would your perfect Saturday be like?
The day would start with coffee. A walk with my husband and the dogs then a bike ride.
It would wrap up a Sci-Fi movie and popcorn.
33. Would you rather cook or order in?
34. What was your favorite subject in school?
I loved English Literature
35. Cake or pie?