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.”
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 over the summer.
Where did you intern over the summer?
NL: I interned with WGXA news in Macon, Georgia. It is a broadcast news station, and it is a FOX/ABC affiliate.
How do you think [your empathy] helps with the work you do?
NL: It helps because it’s almost like I can take a step outside of myself for a second and turn around and look at something from their perspective, like ‘this is how they’re feeling, how would they want their story to be told?’ Because I view myself as a tool to help them.
Would you consider the story about the police shootings [in Dallas] to be the most difficult thing you had to report on?
NL: No. 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. And you get lost for a second and you imagine what their families feel like, and you imagine what the first responders feel like and what everyone’s trying to deal with and it helps me to be empathetic and it helps me to write like a real person. But at the same time, I really have to fight to keep my head above water.
How did working at your internship change your style?
NL: You cannot be a robot, but no one can process all of the tragedy and all of the horrible things that happen on the news and still be all right. You have to have a filter, and I do not have that filter yet. I still feel everything very deeply, but I am getting there…and I’ll get there, just not there yet.