With a Phantom Tollbooth graphic tee and a reflective smile, Noelle Lashley, a 22-year-old journalism major at the University of Georgia, said that her father used to refer to her his “little empath.”
Lashley spent this past summer in Macon, GA interning at WGXA News Fox 24 and ABC 16, a local news station. Describing herself as intuitive to others, Lashley shared her experience dealing with emotional stories and learning how to use her empathy to connect to those she interviewed during her time at her internship.
Lashley said that her empathy helps her take a step outside of herself and into the perspective of the person she is talking to when interviewing them for a news story. This perspective allows her to connect with interviewees on a deeper level. She later added that when she is interviewing others, she asks herself “this is how they’re feeling, how would they want their story to be told?”
While her empathy proved to be useful in assisting her with certain news stories and while interviewing, Lashley described it as “a double-edged sword.” Lashley said that at times it was a challenge to keep herself separate from the more difficult and emotional stories she covered, as it was easy to sympathize and be affected by those whose stories she was telling.
There was no shortage of difficult news stories during her internship as she recounted the several tragic events that took place over the summer.
“Probably the hardest thing for me this summer was, I think I was in the station when the Orlando nightclub shootings happened, and I don’t really know how you describe it,” Lashley said. “You hear something like that break and then it’s kind of like your heart just falls…and you get lost for a second.”
Having to deal with these difficult situations, Lashley recalled her internship as a desired experience, a chance for career development, and a great learning opportunity.
“You have to have a filter, and I do not have that filter yet,” Lashley said. “I still feel everything very deeply, but I am getting there.”