The Veil had been Lifted

The Veil had been Lifted
by Wendy Bell…..My work in television news taught me so much about people.

I started my career on national TV in New York City and traveled America, telling quirky stories about everything from witches and rodeos to sandcastles and Christmas lights. But it was during my three years working for NBC in St. Louis that I started to develop a deep connection with the people I interviewed. They welcomed me into their homes. They cried in my arms. They shared the most intimate details of their worlds with me. And it was on a muggy, windless day in eastern Missouri as I stumbled across the wreckage of lives and loves ripped to shreds by a tornado that I realized how incredibly alike we all are.
I worked on TV for 24 years, the last 18 in Pittsburgh. I won 21 Emmy Awards for my reporting. I received four Edward R. Murrow Awards for my writing. I told countless stories and shared endless heartache with viewers from all over the world.
And then one day it became too much.
My business had changed.
Journalism’s relentless pursuit of the truth morphed into shocking headlines and bragging rights. Getting the story FIRST or having it ONLY ON our station superseded getting the facts right or telling an honest story. And the phoniness on set started oozing through the cameras.
The makeup and tight dresses. The mandatory straightening of my curls into the everyone’s-got-it anchor helmet. The agenda. The pretend commitment to our viewers. It had all become too much.
The inspiring stories I loved to tell about ordinary people doing extraordinary things started to dry up. My news managers didn’t want those anymore. Instead, the 5 o’clock broadcast became a nightly crime blotter with a parade of perp walks and horrible headlines no parent would welcome into their living room.
And I started to really struggle. My husband thought I was depressed. I lost my appetite for most things and no longer wanted to see my friends. I was at a serious crossroads. And it was scary.
The veil had been lifted.
It’s tough when you see something you care about so deeply change so dramatically. My relentless work studying journalism and ethics at the University of Colorado in Boulder and my master’s in broadcasting at the University of Missouri never prepared me for the toilet bowl swirling of my industry’s integrity. Gone was journalism’s commitment to objectivity and honesty. The fierce dedication to fact-finding and digging for the truth vanished. I was doing a job that had abandoned its ethics. Everything I thought I loved and admired about telling stories and being on the news had changed. Like that.
The veil had been lifted.
Like a marriage ruined by a cheater. Like a friendship foiled by jealousy.
The veil had been lifted.
And then I got fired.
I was 46. News was all I knew! What would I tell my five sons? How would Michael, Jack, Ryan, Christopher and Bobby react? And more importantly — how were my husband and I going to manage with only his income? What would I do now?
I can answer all those questions today. Because I didn’t just survive it. I OWNED it.
I coveted every moment with my boys. I never missed a practice and certainly never a game. I made lunches and dinners. Did laundry and yard work. I played cards with them and helped with homework. I went to mass and snuggled with them. We tried new recipes, hiked into the woods and played corn hole. And for the first time in more than a decade… I got to tuck my boys into bed every week night. We’d say prayers and I’d kiss them softly, breathing in the sweetness of their heads and gently running my lips across their soft cheeks. There was no 11 o’clock newscast to race back to. No breathless promotions to shoot. No stories to cover. Just my husband and me and our five magnificent boys.
And then it hit me.
Thank goodness that veil had been lifted.
As I look back on the last year it all makes sense. I get it now. I see. And I’m so incredibly grateful for my life’s new path. I’m starting a new online community dedicated to taking back the headlines and restoring integrity to story-telling. PositivelyWendyBell.com is GOOD. It’s uplifting. It’s inspiring! It’s me — telling the wonderful stories
To each of you — and to the veils keeping you from the happiness you wake up every day hoping to find — don’t be afraid to lift them. Embrace your life’s detours with relentless abandon!! It’s God’s way of nudging you onto the path He wants you to travel. The road to peace and to purpose. It’s time to open the windows and buckle in! After all. The sweet wind blowing in your face feels so much better when there’s no veil keeping you from its kiss.
Wendy Bell, is a television newscaster, born in California, a graduate of the University of Colorado, and with a second degree, in journalism, from the University of Missouri. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is the mother of five sons. Over an 18 year career with Hearst Television station WTAE-TV Pittsburgh that began in 1998, Ms. Bell won 21 regional Emmy awards, the Edward R. Murrow award and other awards. [17]  On March 31, 2016 Hearst Television and WTAE terminated Ms. Bell over a controversy involving a post Ms. Bell made on March 20, 2016 to her personal Facebook page. She has filed suit against the station for racial discrimination. Ms. Bell has is now involved in a new website and blog www.PositivelyWendyBell.com

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