Communication Connection

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Alumni News

The Challenges and Rewards of Reporting

Monday, December 21, 2015

By Lauren Gehring

Controversy and ethical disputes are two terms that no reporter is a stranger to.  Taylor Yakowenko learned this during her first couple of years of reporting for the ABC affiliate channel WWAY, in Wilmington. She has adjusted the way that all reporters must, in order to complete the work. However, reporting in a city with strong personal ties makes it even more challenging. It is not all bad; being able to aid others in having their voices heard can also be very rewarding, despite the hardships.

A UNCW alumnus, Yakowenko graduated from UNCW in December 2013 with a degree in Communication Studies. She discovered a passion for reporting both in videography classes, as well as an internship for photography at WWAY. She then joined the WWAY reporting staff in August 2014.

Once at WWAY, Yakowenko was assigned to a variety of stories, positive and negative, some relevant to UNCW, and some focused on other important matters, such as puppies. 

Sometimes assignments can hit home. Opinions, however, are kept to herself.

Yakowenko reported on a few stories involving UNCW and while covering these events, it was difficult for her to stay unbiased. “Reporters aren’t robots,” she said. “We have opinions on issues, such as gay marriage, abortion, and civil rights. As a reporter though, you have to get both sides and present them both equally, you really can’t have an opinion.” 

While it will always be difficult to cover controversial issues happening on the campus she once walked, Yakowenko has learned to take a step back and accept that she’s covering what any other journalist would on any college campus. She can take pride in knowing that without her story, many important conversations would not take place. “It gives me more inspiration to try to really get to the bottom of things. I don’t want students to not know about these problems and then have them come up and think ‘suddenly this happened’ but no one knows why,” Yakowenko claims. 

To see more of Taylor Yakowenko making positive changes in both the Wilmington community as well as on the UNCW campus, read her stories on, or tune into channel 46.