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25 years of reporting in ENC: Familiar faces and changes through the years

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 7:05 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - March 31st marks my 25th anniversary at WITN, but it hasn’t all been at our station on Arlington Boulevard in Greenville. My journey started about 20 miles or so down the road on Highway 17 in Chocowinity where WITN first got its start in 1955 and where I got my start in 1997.

If you go back there today you’ll see an empty lot where the station used to be. While the building may be gone, the memories remain.

Anna Holoman was the first person I anchored with at WITN and I recently had the chance to chat with her and reminisce.

About my arrival at WITN, Anna said, “I was excited but didn’t really know what to expect and we ended up, I think anchoring together for about 12 years.”

I learned much from Anna about my new role. It was a lot of hard work, particularly during hurricane coverage, of which Anna told me, “I don’t miss that.”

It was certainly serious work but we weren’t serious all the time. Anna said, “We had fun. We had a lot of fun. You have to have fun in this industry to really be successful.”

When I first came to WITN it was to report during the day and anchor the 5:30 p.m. news with Anna. Eventually, I started anchoring the 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. news as well with eastern Carolina icon Linda Shore.

Linda spent about 25-years in TV news here in the east.

In a Zoom interview, she recalled her time at WITN fondly saying, “Well the biggest thing I always thought of first was the comradery not just among the newsroom staff, but the engineering staff, production staff, teleprompter operators. There, I’m dating myself, ya know, the technical directors. Everybody just seemingly got along well and I remember when you came in you were the consummate professional. You took charge. Boom, you fit right in.”

More recently I had the pleasure of anchoring with Lynnette Taylor. Lynnette was and is like family to me, just like when she worked at WITN.

Lynnette says, “And so there was a caring. I never felt like someone didn’t really care about what was going on in my life. I always felt if I had anything I needed to talk to you about I could talk to you about it. I felt like you always had my back on the desk.”

And just like with Anna and Linda, when you invited us into your homes, sometimes what we had to tell you was difficult.

Lynnette commented, “We were giving a piece of ourselves when we spoke. But we also did it in a way that I felt people could understand, we don’t want to give you this bad news, but we are part of this community and we’re compassionate, we empathize with people who are going through situations and you always, it’s genuine.”

For all of the people that I worked with over the years on camera that helped me and had an impact on my career, there were just as many behind the scenes that you may have never known. One is Paul Dunn. He is the first videographer I worked with all those years ago.

When I met Paul recently, he told me, “Man, 25 years. Some of us gained weight and lost hair but look at you. The only thing changed on you is the part in the middle and I am so grateful you did that.”

Paul was referring to the old middle part in my hair that we’re all glad is gone. All kidding aside, Paul told me he wasn’t sure what to make of me when I arrived, even if he was going to like me or not. But he did.

Paul said, “You came in you were smooth, kind. You were a journalist man. You didn’t get caught up in the drama. You didn’t make anything about you and I was like, who cannot support this guy?”

But I didn’t interview Paul, Lynnette, Linda, or Anna for them to thank me. Rather, just the opposite. I wanted to thank all of them for how they have all shaped my career and what they have, and do, mean in my life.

Paul was the one I hit the streets with day in and day out who showed me how to shoot and edit a story. He was a real mentor to me and I thanked him for putting me on the path that I’m on. Paul told me, “Make an old guy cry. Um, that means a lot to me. I didn’t know it.”

WITN has seen many changes since I started. We transitioned to digital, to high definition, to our new station in Greenville. We went from big trucks to do a live report, to going live with equipment we can essentially hold in our hands, to using drones to shoot video that used to require a helicopter. And I’ve had the pleasure of working with incredible people every single year.

Anna said, “We had a lot of fun and I think we delivered a lot of important news at the time. It was something I wouldn’t trade.”

Linda remarked, “We just had such a wonderful time and It’s all because of the people of eastern North Carolina.”

Lynnette commented, “Just amazing times working together and I’ve enjoyed it.”

So while the faces change, technology changes, and time marches on, the one thing that hasn’t changed is my, and our unwavering commitment to you to be fair and objective in all we do. And to have some fun along the way in this place we all call home.

So thanks for taking that trip back in time with me down memory lane. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and thanks for your support of me and WITN over the years as well. And as the saying goes, the Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, they’ll be many more years together.

I’ll continue my look back next month with a story that has impacted all of us, and what it has meant to me personally.

To watch and read my January report on my first story I ever covered you can click here.

To watch and read my February report on my most impactful story you can click here.

Where are they now?

Anna Holoman still lives in Greenville and is a pharmaceutical sales representative.

Linda shore lives in Arizona and is a part-time tour guide for motorcoach tours.

Lynnette Taylor is still in Greenville and is involved in many ventures, most notably her Mary Kay business.

Paul Dunn is still in Greenville and works with a faith-based non-profit helping people get back on their feet following disasters such as hurricanes.

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