Why I left TV news

“This is all fleeting.”

The motto that changed my life.

Have you ever loved something so much and then all of a sudden it doesn’t feed your soul anymore? Well, that was never me and TV news. Being a TV reporter was never my top career choice, but someone encouraged me to go into it and a decade later here I am. Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed my job, meeting new people, giving a voice to the voiceless, and shedding light on community issues. And I’d like to think I was good at it.

My last day at FOX 35 in Orlando.

But I got tired. Tired of waking up at 2 a.m. every weekday, being assigned stories with no substance, feeling unappreciated and undervalued, and stressing out over who’s going to watch the kids when there’s a hurricane and Mommy & Daddy have to work. I once sent my son out-of-state for two weeks because a hurricane was coming and we had to work 12 hour shifts every day. Tough doesn’t even begin to describe it.

The TV news industry is a 24/7 beast with a stone-cold heart. You become a slave to it, planning your life around ratings months (February, May, July, & November) when most stations institute vacation black-out dates. I planned my wedding around it, my sister planned her wedding around it, and my two pregnancies and children’s birth dates were meticulously thought out because I wanted to be able to take time off to celebrate when those special dates rolled around.

You have to be tough to survive in the industry and that’s fine. I did it for 10 years and my husband is still doing it. But then I realized one day, this is all fleeting. I make all these allowances and accommodations for the industry but it would replace me in a heartbeat.

I don’t have to live this way; I choose to. That was underscored when my schedule was unexpectedly changed after returning from my second maternity leave. I found myself routinely working outside my normal hours and stressing about finding stories because of last minute changes to plans. When I expressed my stress and desire to return to my previous schedule, I was initially met with “everyone has stresses inside and outside work” and I “shouldn’t expect my schedule to be changed because of that.”

While plans were in the works to return to my old schedule everything got me thinking, and I decided to eliminate the stress that was my job. There are so many other reasons that led to my decision (salary, upward mobility, etc.) but I decided life was too short to continue doing something that wasn’t making me happy.

I have been truly blessed and fortunate to meet people from around the world and share their joy, hope, successes, and achievements. I am humbled and honored that people have entrusted me to share their tragedies and heartbreak during some of the most difficult moments in their lives. I never took that responsibility lightly and always tried to be fair and accurate.

Shooting video at first reporting job in Columbus, GA, 2012.

More so now than ever, journalists are desperately needed in this country to disseminate facts, hold public officials accountable, and shed light on the many horrific injustices and social issues plaguing the world. Journalists have a thankless, but vital job in society.

For me, it’s time to discover something that feeds my soul. I’ll always be a storyteller at heart and love helping people. So stay tuned… in my next post I’ll tell you what I’m doing next (have to finish the paperwork first). Be sure you subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss it.

  1. Beautifully written, Syd. So many of us hide behind that ‘everything is perfect’ veneer when it’s anything but and we’re…

  2. It is so important to tell this story. So many of us hide behind the’ everything is ok’ façade when…

  3. My dear Sydney..you are an inspiration to all women out there young and us oldsters like me …I’m do very…

  4. Sydney, I wondered what happened to you so I found this. I always loved your reporting, but I’ve always thought,…

  5. Although you will be missed I understand why you made your decision I hope all goes well with you and…

18 thoughts on “Why I left TV news

  1. All the best to you, Sydney. Miss you and Curtis in the Tri Cities, TN. Go where your heart leads you. You will be fine.

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  2. Love you much! Can’t wait to see what your next adventure will be. I know you’re ready to soar….and you WILL❣️‼️🙏🏽
    Love to catch up soon‼️Sending hugs to you, Curtis and those little handsome fellas of yours‼️

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  3. It takes courage to walk away and follow your heart. Working mothers have to make this decision often and choosing the work that suits you and the life you desire is an important and brave step. I have no doubt you’ll do it and do it BIG!!! Congratulations sis!!!

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    1. Thank you so much! You are so right! Moms find themselves in so many tough situations and we often have to make sacrifices for our family, but honestly, this feels like it’s for me too. Here’s to the future!

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  4. Kudos Sydney. Do what makes you happy and feeds your soul. Best advice EVER!! Praying Gods Blessing on ALL your future endeavors.

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    1. Thank you! You are such an inspiration and I’ve thought of you so many times over the years putting your family first and advocating for your son! Here’s to hoping I can live the same way!

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  5. Sydney you were always great in my eyes a damn good reporter you will be missed I wish you and your family the best. Keep us up-to-date how you are doing and pray to God that everything goes in your favor. Stay positive stay strong. You and Luanne where are the two favorites on the on the news.

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  6. Congratulations Sydney for working hard and laying the groundwork for what will be a successful next chapter! You have your priorities in the right place and you will never regret it!

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  7. I commend you for standing up for yourself and taking this leap away from the field. It’s a matter of taking care of yourself and your family. Good luck and be awesome

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    1. Although you will be missed I understand why you made your decision I hope all goes well with you and your family. Remember viewers like myself enjoy what you were reporting how you reported it you will always be in our prayers I hope everything work out again and thank you for reporting the things that we needed to know in our area.

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  8. Sydney,
    I wondered what happened to you so I found this. I always loved your reporting, but I’ve always thought, what time do they have to get up in the morning?.
    I worked a job that was very high stress for decades it took its toll on me. Now I’m retired ( 1 year). I wish I’d have got out of that job earlier.
    Good luck to you Sydney. God Bless

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