DENVER (CBS4) – It’s 1 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and Audra Streetman is revved up. She’s just arriving at CBS4 for her shift working the assignment desk and producing content for our digital platforms.
“My attitude when I walk into the newsroom is ‘Ready to go!’ There’s already a lot in progress,” she says, “so I jump in and get up to speed so I’m not caught off guard by anything.”
A conversation with Audra is a lesson in leadership. It’s easy to see why her co-workers nominated her for Employee of the Quarter during one of the most challenging times of our careers. In nomination letters, they used words and phrases like, “team player,” “life saver,” “calm under pressure,” and “newsroom leader.” One colleague said, “Audra tackles every task with grace, kindness, respect and determination.”
That’s not easy in Audra’s job. The assignment desk has a reputation for being one of the most difficult jobs in the newsroom. It’s the nerve center of our operation and the pressure is constant. Assignment editors do a little bit of everything – coordinating logistics with our field crews, working with reporters to confirm information and track down sources, communicating with producers and managers to make coverage decisions, and contributing content for the web site and social media pages.
Audra says that’s exactly why she loves this job, “I like how every day is different,” she tells me. “You’re working with everyone. Every day I’m involved in not just one, but ALL of the big stories.” And Audra says the pressure doesn’t bother her, “It’s a lot of juggling but I like it, it makes the day go by fast. You’re never bored! There’s never a lull in my day.”
Of all the things she does in a single day, I wondered if there was a favorite part of the job for her. She had a quick response: “My favorite word is ‘confirmed.’ So I love when we can confirm information and go with it. That’s the most exciting part of my job.”
When viewers call our newsroom, they usually reach the assignment desk. That can bring its own challenges, as assignment editors talk with people in the community while simultaneously staying on task. Audra takes special care with those calls, particularly during this difficult time. Several co-workers mentioned this in their Employee of the Quarter nominations. One person said, “No matter who is on the other end of the line, whether they’re screaming obscenities or crying out of fear, Audra takes time to listen and help each of them – doing so with admirable poise and patience.” I asked Audra about this and she got very serious, “A lot of people have been struggling and you can really tell when they reach out to us, it’s one of their last resort phone calls.” She says, “They want to share their story and I can sense through the phone they’re struggling. I appreciate that they reach out to the newsroom.”
Audra has worked in our newsroom for just one year, but it has been “home” since college. I met Audra while visiting Radio 1190 in Boulder where I also got my start in broadcasting. Our conversation piqued her interest in CBS4, and she did two internships with us – one in the newsroom and one with our investigative team. After graduating from the University of Colorado she worked as a reporter, anchor and news producer at stations in Indiana, California, and Kentucky – before finally returning to CBS4. “This was the only newsroom I looked at, coming back, because it was familiar and a place I really like.”
In her short time back at CBS4, it’s clear she has already earned the trust and respect of the newsroom. One person wrote, “She’s grown to be not only an essential part of the team, but a loved team member.” I asked Audra the secret to her success but she again deflects to the team, “Everyone truly cares about each other’s success here. The support from everyone is uplifting,” she says, “I think when people are supportive of each other, it creates an environment where people can be even more successful.”
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In this challenging year, Audra says that support has been vital. Looking forward, she says she wants to continue to elevate her game: “Because I feel so supported by the people I work with, it just motivates me to do even better.”