May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Valerie Boey reports the news at FOX 35, WOFL-TV in Orlando, Florida. She is an Associated Press award-winning journalist and specializes in breaking news at FOX 35. Recently Boey interviewed with us for a glimpse of what it’s like to be a television news reporter.
“I’ve been in the news business for over 20 years. Every day I get up I love my job. You never know who you’re going to meet, you never know what you’re going to do. A lot of days, I get up thinking, is it going to be a pants day or a dress day? Because sometimes you end up covering fires, storms, hurricanes. Every day is different. What motivates me the most is being able to help people,” Boey said.
Recently, Boey covered two hit and run accidents; one was fatal, the other with critical injuries.
Boey joined WOFL-TV’s news staff in 2008. It’s the FOX owned and operated station in Orlando.
“We are not in first place. But we try real hard. It’s fun to be part of their team and it is all team work. Every day is a learning experience. I really enjoy working with my co-workers,” Boey said.
Before working at FOX 35, Boey worked at WINK-TV, the CBS station in Ft. Myers, Florida where she was an associate news producer, assignment editor and news reporter. From there, Boey became the political reporter for WTSP-TV(CBS) in Tampa-St. Petersburg. She also started the Tallahassee Bureau for WTSP and WTLV (NBC). Boey wrote for Gannett-owned newspapers in Florida and reported for all Gannett owned stations and websites. After working in Tallahassee, Boey moved to St. Petersburg to report for WTSP-TV’s main newsroom.
She moved to Orlando in 2008. During her time in Central Florida, Valerie has covered high profile stories, such as the community’s reaction to the Casey Anthony verdict. She was also the lead reporter during the George Zimmerman trial, as well as the after trial stories.
Boey is originally from New York and attended high school in Illinois. She is a broadcast journalism graduate of New York University. While at NYU, Boey interned at NBC Nightly News in New York.
According to the National Office of the Asian American Journalists Association in San Francisco, California, there are 10 AAJA members who work in television or radio news in Florida. While most Florida newsrooms do not have an Asian American television or radio news reporter or anchor on their staffs, Boey is part of a rare and unique group.
“I credit my success to hard work. Every day I put in 110 percent and I think that’s what makes the difference. I also credit my success to this business. It’s what I want to do. It’s something I don’t have to do, something I truly want to do. I feel it’s an honor to be able to go out and meet people and serve the community.” Boey said.
Boey is Chinese-American and proud of being an Asian American. She also is the president of the Florida Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association. Boey also is a Board member of the Florida Associated Press. Outside the newsroom, she mentors journalism students and supports several charities.
“I’m very proud to be Asian American. It’s part of my history, part of my culture. My Mom and Dad brought me up to be proud of who I am. Sure.. growing up I was different and I’m still different, but I think it’s great that people are different and unique in their own way.” Boey said.
Boey has this advice for today’s generation and college graduates pursuing a career in television news or any career field.
“Careers are changing very much. You’re going to be doing more work for less pay. You need to know that ahead of time. You’re going to be working weekends and holidays, but I feel that if it’s something you truly want to do, you will be happy doing it, especially in the beginning of your career. Years down the line, after you’ve proven yourself, then ask for the schedule you want. Because of what I said about why I do this. It allows me to help people in the community and others’ needs. You have to work hard. A lot of young people feel they are entitled, but they need to pay their dues, even if it means going to a smaller market, even if it means starting off at an entry level job. I didn’t start off as a reporter. I started off as an associate producer. I ran teleprompter. I edited video. So, they need to know that it’s really a work in progress. Even if you can’t get in as a reporter, try getting in at a lower level and work your way up. It will make you a better journalist in all ways,” Boey said.
Photos Courtesy: Valerie Boey