Good Morning America co-host Lara Spencer took center stage at WOTC East and discussed her ups and downs in the TV news business and how she used her passion for flea markets to become the "Martha Stewart of Junk."
Did you finally get a chance to show your stuff?
I figured out the camera and things were going well. I was working one weekend and a police officer was unfortunately shot. And the gentleman running the news desk was looking around. It was just me. I was like "Put me in, coach." He [begrudgingly] sent me out to do my very first live shot. His not believing in me hurt me so deeply that it shook my confidence to the core. And I will never forget that. Had he said, "You got this," I probably would have been fine, but he was resistant to even giving me the chance. And I would never do that to anyone I work with or anyone who works for me because it was horrible. I hyperventilated.
Tell the best part of the story!
I made the blooper reel, not only of our station, but also the competitive station. Yeah, so that one hurt. That one hurts to tell. But I was able to turn that job into a positive. You collect these experiences along the way. Again, taking those risks. I stayed for a year and a half. I sent out my resume tape again. I got a job at News 12 Long Island, which was fantastic because I was able to live at home because you don't make a lot of money as a young reporter. Also, because I got a clean slate. I was able to go in there with no snickering about live shots, or hyperventilation.
One of my early days there was one of the first mass shootings that I ever remember, which was on the Long Island Railroad in the early '90s. Instead of looking around, and saying "Oh no, there she is." They were like, "you're from Garden City, you go."I took a deep breath and I jumped off the cliff again. I went out there. The first [live shot] one was okay, and then the second one was better, and they kept getting better. As the night went on they ended up doing live shots on affiliates around the country. That was a scary thing to know that I [previously] did something so poorly, and was so embarrassed, but to get up on the horse again and try was such a personal success.