There are many truly heartbreaking aspects of the morning’s slain WDBJ journalists: Alison Parker’s and Adam Ward’s youth, their enthusiasm for the job, the fact that they were simply doing those jobs—gathering local news—when they were murdered.
Another anguishing detail came out a little bit later when Chris Hurst, anchor at WDBJ, shared that he and Alison were in love and had moved in together. Hurst, who anchors the Schurz station's 6 and 10 p.m. news, tweeted a picture of them together.
"She was the most radiant woman I ever met,” part of his tweet read. “And for some reason she loved me back.”
I met Chris in Las Vegas in 2009, back when the RTDNA annual show happened alongside the NAB convention. He was a senior at Emerson College and had paid his way there to soak up some of the latest newsgathering tips and tricks, and meet the station leaders that do the hiring. The country mired in a recession, it was an awful time to be looking for work. But Hurst remained optimistic. “A couple of news directors I spoke to said it was tough for them when they got out of college, too,” he told me at the time. “It's always going to be tough.”
I liked his ambition and followed his career since then: getting his first job with KNDU in Kennewick, Wash., and moving on up, the way good anchors do. I shot him an email when Hurst landed at WDBJ years ago, wishing him well.
Hurst is on the job today amidst the unthinkable tragedy. “The support is overwhelming,” he shared this afternoon on Twitter. “Sorry if I haven't been able to respond personally. Alison's life will be shared today and forever.”