When Ali Reid was 5 years old, she sat down at the 6abc news desk in the Discovery Museum and everything clicked.
“I turned to my mom and I said, ‘I want to be a TV reporter someday,’ Reid remembered.
Now, the 2014 Shawnee graduate is living her dream as the morning reporter for WFMZ in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Before Reid landed the job, she broadcasted live to smaller screens at Medford Memorial Middle School and Shawnee High School.
Years later, she still credits her middle- school morning show leader, Sharman Ebbeson, with giving her the tools to land a real-world TV job.
“I thank her, because if it really wasn’t for her reaching out to me, I wouldn’t even be where I am now,” Reid said.
Ebbeson remembers tapping Reid for the school show, “Homeroom Headlines,” because of her confidence.
“She exudes personality,” she noted. “She had that maturity. I’m not surprised that she’s made it far.”
As she got older, Reid became an anchor for Shawnee TV and a sideline reporter for Lenape District Television (LDTV) sports.
“The courses that Shawnee offers for TV technology are next-level,” Reid explained. “It’s real-world experience. You’re learning from people who have worked in the field and want to give that knowledge back to students in high school.
“I don’t think that you can really take it for granted.”
After high school, Reid moved to Boston to attend Emerson College as a broadcast journalism major. There, she started her own entertainment journalism company and reported on awards shows like the Tonys and Emmys and interviewed celebrities, from Josh Groban to Chelsea Clinton.
Reid’s first full-time job was for a small-town news station in Peoria, Illinois, an experience that taught her the importance of telling local stories.
“You get to tell stories of people,” she said. “It’s the most rewarding job in the entire world.”
Reid began reporting in Allentown just before COVID-19 changed the world. Since then, she has had to adapt her reporting style and find stories to tell remotely.
When she tested positive for COVID-19 in March, Reid put her story on the airwaves.
“I shared my journey of coronavirus for people to understand what I went through,” she recalled. “I was scared to death. I had to be the positive voice on TV that things are going to be okay. But I also wanted to be real.”
WFMZ broadcasts to some cable networks in Medford, the first time Reid’s family and friends were able to watch her report live as a professional.
“Growing up in South Jersey, and watching news in Philadelphia, I would look at those TV reporters and go, ‘I’m gonna be that person someday,’” she said. “Now, I get to turn around and say I am that person.”
Reid, who considers herself a long-term planner, envisions working for a news company in New York City in the near future.
“I think about it every single day,” she admitted. “It means so much to me. I want my grandma and my other family members who live around the U.S., to be able to watch on TV, too.”