Addie Bradshaw, '04
in August 2007
Addie Bradshaw: Making an impact
In her own words, Addie Bradshaw is "nosey." This award-winning journalist has already established an outstanding resume in broadcasting at the ripe old age of 24. She's also a prominent supporter of Carolina who hasn’t forgotten her roots.
Addie grew up in Lincolnton, North Carolina, and is currently a reporter at WLTX television, the CBS affiliate in Columbia. She also anchors occasionally and hosts the 30 minute show called "Crimestoppers: Conquering the Midlands," which is a partnership with local law enforcement agencies to help them get criminals off the street.
The latest news for this rising star involves a pair of prestigious awards. Addie recently won the Reporter of the Year Award from the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. She won the award after submitting a compilation of stories and was nominated by her news director, Mike Garber.
"He thought my strength was that I was very versatile whether it was reporting or filling in as an anchor, or whether it was an investigative five minute long piece or if it was a story on two-legged Chihuahuas," Addie says. "J.R. Berry at the station anchored it and helped me weave it all together. He's really served as a mentor for me."
Addie received the award at a banquet on Hilton Head Island on August 11, much to her surprise.
"I was shocked," Addie claims "Shock, being overwhelmed and just craziness were the emotions that came to mind. Being there was such a huge honor. People are in this business for 30 and 40 years, so to only have been doing this for a three or four years and to be recognized at that point was huge for me."
This wasn't Addie's first major award however, as earlier this year she earned the Southeast Region Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative news reporting. She had reported on a contractor who was doing shoddy or incomplete work on jobs, and following numerous lawsuits and out of court settlements, he did not pay back some of his clients the money he owed. Competing against stations in Atlanta and other large markets, this was quite an honor.
"In the broadcast journalism world, the Edward R. Murrow Award is the most prestigious award," Addie says. "But the South Carolina Broadcasters Association Award meant a lot to me too. To be in the room with so many people I work with or work beside every day, and to see them be honored and for them to see me honored was important to me too."
Carolina provides foundations for success
Addie always seemed to know where she was going. That includes her decision to come to the University of South Carolina for her education.
"Believe it or not, it's the only school I applied to," Addie says. "I had an aunt who lived in Columbia, and I always just loved coming to Columbia to visit. It just felt right."
Addie received an academic scholarship to attend USC, and she was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate.
"I almost got through college with a 4.0 GPA," Addie says. "I think I ended up having two or three B's. I finally made that first B my junior year, and it was such a sigh of relief. I did have fun in college. I wasn't a total dork. I put a lot of pressure on myself at school, but I was always living for the weekends and getting to go to the football games in the fall."
Some college students struggle with deciding on a major, but Addie new from an early age that she wanted to work in television news because she has a special personality trait.
"I’m nosey," Addie laughs. "Growing up, I was the nosiest girl in high school, but finally I get paid to be nosey. No really, I like to talk. I like to communicate. I like to ask questions. My mind is just constantly going and looking for story ideas."
Addie had a genuine thirst for knowledge, and she credits Carolina with getting her ready to enter the workforce.
"I couldn’t have come out of USC more prepared to do the job that I do," Addie says. "The Mass Communications program at USC was just the best program to get folks prepared to go into the real world.
"My favorite professor was probably Tim Brown, who has since moved on to another school. He was just a huge mentor for me. He taught Journalism 326, which was really the first class where you could really put your skills to work. That was the class where we went out and started doing our first stories. He really guided me and worked with me."
Life on TV
Addie's career started while in school as she worked as a weekend news producer at WIS television in Columbia. From there she went to Bluefield, West Virginia, where she reported, shot video, anchored and produced. She left there after 14 months when an opportunity arose to come back to Columbia at WLTX in August of 2005.
"I thought this may be the only time in my career to go back and live in the same town as my university, get back to my university, and back to the friends I had made there," Addie says.
While she has earned a reputation as an outstanding serious journalist, a career in live television can certainly have its share of humorous moments.
"One time I got the Star Wars and the Star Trek fans mixed up, which I hear is a huge insult to them," Addie laughs. "There was a new Star Wars movie coming out, and in cross talk I thought I was going be cute and talk about the 'Trekkies,' but apparently that's totally different. The weather man called me out on it so I was embarrassed."
The scope of stories she covers on a daily basis is very broad, and inspiration can come from topics when you least expect it. One of her favorite stories dealt with a pair of two-legged Chihuahuas in Cayce, S.C. Although she ended up rolling her eyes at the story initially, she ended up loving it, and so did the viewers.
"News to me is anything that impacts or moves a person," Addie says. "Some might look at that story about the Chihuahuas and say 'that's not news.' But if that touched somebody because those two little dogs were able to get by with two legs, then maybe you can make it with whatever ailment you have. So it really just has to have an impact on someone to be news."
By the same token, some stories are more difficult to cover than others, and you have to be able to shield your own emotions when reporting on a tragedy. Addie says the toughest stories for her to cover involve members of the military who have been killed overseas.
"I’m a very patriotic person," Addie says. "The sacrifices these people make, some of them 19 and 20 years old, is always hard to talk about with the families. They want the whole world to know what their son or daughter was like, and that's always a draining day to come back from that."
Even on the difficult assignments, Addie truly enjoys her profession. In fact, she says the best and worst part about her job is the same thing.
"It's the fact that you don't know what you're going to be doing each day," Addie says. "The plus side is that no two days are ever the same. You can't get bored. The down side is, I can’t make a lunch date or tell anyone what time I'll be home for dinner."
Staying connected to Carolina
When she's not on camera or tracking down the latest story, Addie is active in the Carolina Alumni Association and is a member of the Young Alumni Council.
"I knew I might not be here forever, and I wanted to get back involved with the university that gave so much to me," Addie says. "I just wanted a way to really reconnect to it and do all I could to support the school. I love the Fall Sports Preview party. That's awesome. That just gets everyone so psyched up for football season. Really it's just great to bring young alumni together all year. Maybe you'll see someone you went to school with, or maybe make new friends, and network and talk about what other people in your field are doing and how you can get into it."
So what's next for Addie Bradshaw?
"I used to think I would keep moving up to a bigger city, bigger market, and more money," Addie says. "Then I found my boyfriend (Andrew Weyl), who later became my fiancé, so now there's more than one person to factor in these decisions. So now it's not about where your job is, but who you're with, and making sure you like living in that city."