I grew up by the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach, VA. My dad bought me a sailboat when I was 11. Don’t get the wrong idea. We were not well-to-do by any stretch of the imagination and my parents could not afford to buy us expensive toys. The boat was a used 8-foot Snark that he bought at a yard sale, a little two man (at best) fiberglass and styrofoam dingy. I loved that boat! It was light enough for me to carry up and down the beach easily and I spent countless hours learning about the wind and how to navigate. My brother and I spent many days skim boarding as well. If you don’t know what that is, I’ll explain. It’s a thin board that you throw when a wave has crested on the beach and then you run beside the board, jump on, and skim across the shoreline. I went to Frank W. Cox High school where I was more interested in extracurricular activities than studying. I was a cheerleader, homecoming queen, yearbook staff member, and little league cheer coach. I started college at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA majoring in Mass Communications and Journalism. But there was one problem with Richmond. It’s not near the beach. So I transferred to Old Dominion University where I received my degree.
While I was in school and for a few years afterwards, I volunteered for a local cable access show that the Norfolk Police department produced. My mom was an administrative secretary for the department and she helped hook me up with the job. I helped write, report and produce the show which was very successful in catching crooks. The show aired 80 times a week showing pictures and video of alleged criminals the police were looking for. I won the Governor’s award for Volunteer Excellence for my four year run with that show. I didn’t get paid but working there proved invaluable because I learned how to shoot, write and edit news stories without the pressure of live TV.
From there I went on to work for the CBS affiliate in Norfolk as a reporter. Quick story about my first live shot. I was terrified because I had never done “live” TV. I was at a waterfront festival standing in the middle of a crowd of drunken festival-goers waiting for my turn on the 6pm news. I was listening to the producer in my ear “…. 30 seconds to you Bev” About that time, two drunk guys start walking toward me, not realizing what the heck I’m doing standing there by myself. The photographer was about 20 feet away. “…… 15 seconds…” The two guys started flirting with me as I’m trying to remember what I’m going to say. In the nick of time, the photographer sees what’s happening and runs over and muscles the two guys out of the shot! Ok, so the story wasn’t so short. I get butterflies when I think about it to this day. I nailed the live shot and the rest is history.