Alumna Caroline Blair delivers fact-based journalism
Since graduating from UNC Greensboro, Caroline Blair ’06 has worked in newsrooms from New York to Georgia writing, reporting, and producing fact-based news stories. The whole time, she has followed one guiding light – journalistic integrity.
“I think it’s important for those of us who call ourselves journalists to make sure that we are reporting in accurate and precise ways, that we are not biased, and that we’re very open about where we’re getting our information,” she says.
She acknowledges that journalism faces challenges from misinformation and opinion-based content, but she is optimistic about the future. One reason is the number of young professionals she sees making a difference at Spectrum 1 News, where Blair now guides morning broadcasts from the anchor desk.
Many of them are recent college graduates. “We’re hiring more and more students out of college, and they’re coming straight in, hitting the ground running, and getting wonderful experience,” she says.
Journalism was not always the plan for the Trinity, NC, native. When Blair arrived at UNCG, she was a basketball player on an athletic scholarship. “I was recruited up and down the East Coast for basketball,” she recalls. “But after making several visits to different schools, I decided to follow in my mom’s footsteps and go to UNCG.”
The 6’ 2” starting center balanced early-morning workouts with a demanding academic schedule. She earned All-Academic Southern Conference honors, and when she found her career path, it was thanks to an unexpected meeting on the basketball court.
When another player arrived at practice with a camera, Blair was inspired to learn more. After observing a few of her teammate’s classes, she began to pursue a second major in Media Studies, Broadcast & Cinema in addition to her Communications major. “I thought, you know what? That’s my interest – the journalism, the writing, and the storytelling. I decided that was something that I absolutely wanted, not just to have as a major, but to pursue as a career,” she says.
She won an internship in Manhattan, where she rode elevators with Al Roker and saw professionals like Ann Curry prepare to go on air. “For me, it was the most helpful thing in my career to go ‘get my hands dirty,’” she says. “Getting involved in everything only makes you better and helps you decide what you want to do.”
In an early post as a bureau chief at a CBS affiliate in southern Georgia, she learned how to do everything a reporter may need to do between receiving an assignment and going on the air. “I shared a car and a camera with another reporter,” she remembers. “Somehow we were doing upwards of five stories a day and still went live (on air) in the afternoons – with no photographer!”
With her wealth of experience, Blair makes the anchor chair look fun. At the same time, she knows that integrity in journalism is more important than ever before. One challenge is the amount of opinion-based information that pretends to be news.
“I think unfortunately a lot of people nowadays get a lot of what they consider news from social media,” she says. “Those entities are not often fact-based or fact checked. And quite often they have agendas and biases.” Fact-based journalism strives to be objective and only uses information that can be verified in multiple ways.
As an alumna, Blair has stayed connected to the UNCG community by visiting media studies classes to share her experiences. “When I look at students, I see a lot of people wanting to change the world,” she says. “As long as that remains a constant focus of younger generations, I think that there is a great future.”
By Mercer Bufter ’11 MA