Delta Zeta Gives Back to the Painted Turtle Camp

Delta Zeta Gives Back to Painted Turtle Camp
Written by: Kate Houser
April 15, 2012

If you spent your childhood running around the neighborhood with your friends, spending hours on end at the community pool, or building forts in your backyard, then you were one of the lucky ones. There are hundreds of children today that can’t do the innocent childhood activities they should be able to do because of a serious medical condition. Many of us would be happy staying home from school because of a cold, or a sore throat, but the illnesses that some children have to cope with are much more serious. There are children every day being diagnosed with the burden of facing illnesses such as diabetes, kidney diseases, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and many more. Radford University’s Delta Zeta sorority is passionate about helping children like this that have chronic and life-threatening diseases that cannot live the careless childhood every person deserves.

One of Delta Zeta’s national philanthropic organizations is a camp called the Painted Turtle Camp whose mission is to provide a camp environment for children with these illnesses. The camp provides daily medical care as well as a fun atmosphere where the children are able to do fun activities to fill their time with more than just daily hospital visits. 40% of the children that attend the camp come from low-income families. Because of the kind and compassionate partners and donators, the camp is able to run free of charge for the children and their families.

To help support this great cause, the sisters of Delta Zeta gave back this past Friday when they organized a supply drive for the camp. “People could give either monetary donations or buy supplies in Wal-Mart and bring it out to us when they were done shopping, that made it easy for them to donate! We used to monetary donations to buy more supplies at Wal-Mart at the end of the day,” said freshman, Jacey Cox. The girls sat outside of the Fairlawn Wal-Mart for hours on Friday asking people to donate goods such as crayons, glue sticks, markets, etc. for the campers to do crafts with. “I sat at the supply drive from 12-2p.m. and had a lot of fun doing it spending time with my sisters as well as giving back to the camp!” said junior, Rachel Anzengruber.

At the end of the day, the sorority was able to fill four large boxes to mail to the camp, located in California. “I really loved telling people about the cause and having them help the Painted Turtle Camp! It was nice to see the boxes filled with crayons and markets for the kids to enjoy,” said freshman, Allie Annunziata. The experience was rewarding for the sisters, who were able to spend the afternoon enjoying the beautiful weather, each others company, and the feeling of giving back to a great cause.

Writers note: If you would like to learn more about the Painted Turtle Camp please visit their website at


A Day in the Life of a Broadcast Journalist

A Day in the Life of a Broadcast Journalist
Written By: Kate Houser
Sunday March 18, 2012

My day began at 7:30 a.m. sharp and still being a student with all afternoon classes, I hadn’t seen this hour of the day in quite some time. I awoke however, full of energy and eager to begin my day, a day in the life of a working broadcast journalist.

I was nervous to say the least. For I was going to not only have the privilege of meeting someone with talent and experience in the field of reporting, but I was going to be working alongside someone doing the job I’ve spent the last four years of college working towards becoming myself.

The reporter I’d be shadowing was Karen Kiley from WDBJ Channel 7 News. I had seen Karen before on segments on the 5 and 6 p.m. news casts. She is someone who I look at with both jealously and admiration. As an aspiring reporter myself, I can’t help but look at the women on my television without falling into a brief day dream where I am the young, tireless reporter working to develop the latest news for the nightly broadcasts. So to have the opportunity to work alongside one of those very women I so much admire for a day was quite an exciting ordeal.  

WDBJ 7 has their main station located in Roanoke, Va. But they also have satellite offices in Lynchburg and Blacksburg as well. Karen is the chief reporter for the Blacksburg office, so it was there that I arrived around 9 a.m. on the morning of Friday, March 16th. One would not know it was a major news stations office by driving by. The office is located in a small brick building along with a few other businesses. As I entered the WDBJ 7 office, I entered what looked to be a small apartment. It was an L-shaped room consisting of Karen’s office, her photographer’s office and a small room with cameras and editing equipment.


Karen came to greet me in a warm, friendly way. It was still early in the day, so when I arrived she was sitting at her desk applying her make-up and checking her e-mails. Her photographer was out for the morning doing movie reviews so she let me sit at his desk. Karen told me that she usually starts her day by checking the producer rundown chart on a program called “inews”. This program is controlled by the assignment editor but allows all WDBJ reporters and anchors to edit it. It is a chart that shows the stories being covered for the day and who is covering them. This is how the station stays organized to know that all stories are being covered and what newscast they’ll be aired on later that day.

(Photo Taken by: Kate Houser)

Karen went back to her desk as I continued to look around the inews program. We got to talking about how Karen got her start in the news industry. Karen graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in broadcast journalism. She spent months sending out her tapes and finally in the summer after her graduation, Karen was offered a job at a news station in West Virginia. It was there that Karen got her first professional experience as a news reporter shooting, editing and reporting her stories. It was close enough to her home in Maryland that she could visit her parents on weekends, but far enough that she barely knew anyone.

(Photo from: WDBJ 7 website)

“I remember calling my dad the day I signed my lease to my apartment and I was bawling my eyes out,” she said. The opportunity to have a position at an actual working news station is a great thing, but the distance from home and being in the middle of nowhere, not knowing a soul was what upset Karen. However, she knew that’s what she had to do to get the experience she needed and stayed in West Virginia for a couple of years. A few times Karen was called in the middle of the night to cover breaking news. She would wake up at three in the morning and report to a scene sometimes even in sweats just so she could get the quotes and footage she’d need for the morning show. “It was more important to get the story,” she said.

Being woken up in the middle of the night to cover a story isn’t the only downfall to working in news. The average salary for an entry-level reporter at a news station in a smaller market can be as low as $20,000 a year. Often as a reporter if you want to move up the ladder of news markets you must be willing to move literally anywhere where you may know no one. “Everybody at my station was in the same boat, fresh out of college not making much money. That made it a lot more fun though. You’ll make some of your best friends in the business from your first station,” she said. Kiley still keeps in touch with some of her first colleges from her West Virginia station, many of whom are now spread out at stations all over the country.

(Story Board, Photo taken by: Kate Houser)

After a couple of years in West Virginia, Karen moved up in the news market almost 100 spots, going from market 170 in WV to market 66 in Roanoke, Va. She started in the Lynchburg office where she lived for eight months. After that she was transferred to the Blacksburg office where she enjoys working more because there’s more news available than she found in Lynchburg.

Moving to a larger market like Roanoke, Karen was able to finally have her own photographer. Before, in West Virginia, she was in charge of shooting and editing all her material. Larger market news stations are able to afford more photographers. The day I was with Karen however, her photographer was out for the day shooting other stories, so it was up to her to go out and retrieve the footage. We shot three stories in one day on Friday. One story took us to the drill field at Virginia Tech, the other to a police station in Radford, Va.

After gathering footage Karen always goes back to the station and edits all the video in the small editing room. This is the same room with a high top table and a flat screen tv that Karen does her live shots in front of whenever she goes live to the main Roanoke station for the 5 or 6 p.m. shows.

(Editing Room, Photo taken by: Kate Houser)

Karen’s day is composed of searching for stories, contacting potential interviews, doing live shots, writing up anchor scripts and recording voiceovers. She spends time throughout her day lugging around a tall tripod and a heavy camera bag with her barely five foot two frame. If you’re driving around the New River Valley and pass a white SUV with the WDBJ 7 logo on the side and see a petit blonde woman driving, that’s Karen Kiley probably on her way to shoot her latest story.

(Mic for voice overs, Photo taken by: Kate Houser)

“This job isn’t impossible; you can make it if you want too. I see diva’s come in all the time who don’t want to work at stations in the middle of nowhere, but it doesn’t work like that. You have to put your time in to move up.” Like all reporters, Karen is still looking to move her career further. She has multiple offers from stations in both the top 40 market, and top 20. I am personally eager to see where Karen’s talent and drive takes her with her career in the future and wish her only the best of luck.