WOM October 2020 Edition
Women on the Move is a series that amplifies women to talk about their success stories. Every month, an individual or group of women share an empowered voice for those who have places to go and goals to accomplish.
Our Woman on the Move for the October 2020 Edition is Christine O’Donnell. She’s the founder of Bright Sighted Media LLC in Los Angeles, California. With over 10 years in the journalism industry, O'Donnell is also a podcast producer and a consultant.
O’Donnell knows the ins and outs behind the scenes and in front of the camera. She’s worked as a radio news director, anchor, television news reporter for KTTV Fox 11 News in Los Angeles and other award-winning stations. With that experience comes industry insights and knowledge on how to handle challenging situations.
“There’s only one thing you have control over and it’s yourself and your attitude and your outlook. I have control over me and how hard I work at something, the kind of relationships I make, the way I treat people,” O’Donnell said. “I just focused on me and what I could do to stay focused on what I wanted to accomplish in my life.”
O’Donnell attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities for her Bachelors in Journalism and Associates in Spanish. After she graduated and began her career, she experienced first-hand the trials that come with the job.
“My first year working in Augusta, Georgia was my jading period as a journalist because I had to go to the scene on a lot of people’s worst days, and it was just me,” O’Donnell said. “It wasn't me, a producer and a photographer. It was just me as a one-man-band showing up on the worst day of your life to ask you what happened.”
O’Donnell says that being a TV news reporter and an empathetic person has its challenges. She recalls a day on the job she’ll never forget.
“I remember having an argument with one of my colleagues one day because she happened to be in charge on the weekends,” O’Donnell said. “She told me to go cover this drowning of a kid and I was like, ‘No! I’m not going to do that. That’s awful.’ She was like, ‘This is the job.’ I went and it was awful. It was really hard. There were a lot of times I cried that first year as a reporter.”
O’Donnell didn’t let that first year get her down but continued to grow and gain experience. She recalls of the times she felt so empathetic that she’d cry with her sources during emotionally challenging interviews. O’Donnell says it’s really important to be a person first.
“You’re not always going to get the story, but if you have to be there on the worst day of someone's life, just be there with compassion,” O’Donnell said. “Think of anything positive you can offer that person during that time. Sometimes talking to a camera feels like you’re sending a message to a loved one. Sometimes it was a little bit therapeutic for people, for me too, to have those conversations.”
By Jessica Fernandez, Heather Chiles, Daniella Parra