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Where Are They Now: Jessica Ralston

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - The many faces you see on your screen at WDTV come and go because were a “small market.”

WDTV is a station where many people start their career in news before they move on.

Award-winning journalist, Jessica Ralston, is the anchor for “Good Day Columbus” at WSYX ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus, Ohio. Ralston grew up in Youngstown where she started her first job in news. Before she ended up back in her home state, she made her mark as an on-air journalist in West Virginia.

“I started out my whole career in Youngstown, Ohio as a producer before I came to Clarksburg,” said Ralston. “I thought I would never end up back in Ohio, but 20 something years later here I am.”

Ralston became the morning anchor and producer at WDTV in 2001 right after 9-11.

“9-11 kind of turned my life around, made me think about my priorities and taught me not to waste any time,” said Ralston.

West Virginia was never really in Ralston’s plan when it came to jobs, but she realized the location was not far away from her family in Youngstown.

“I could still travel back and forth it and it just ended up kind of being the perfect fit. It worked out really well,” said Ralston.

While working in West Virginia, Ralston covered several stories from flooding to politics. The topic of coal mining was a “whole new world” to her.

“Definitely introduced me into the world of coal mining which I had no idea about until I moved there to Clarksburg,” said Ralston. “Then I went to Charleston and covered major mine disasters and I was one of the first journalists to go underground into a coal mine for mine safety training.”

One of the greatest aspects Ralston says of working in a smaller market, like WDTV, is seeing who actually wants to be a journalist.

“You don’t get paid a lot of money and you work a lot of hours and you do more than one job at one time,” said Ralston. “It puts you through the ringer and it really does weed out the people who aren’t in it for the right reason.”

Along with the lessons Ralston learned from working at WDTV, she also made some friendships and memories that she says are very precious to her.

From the time she started her career, to being an Emmy-award winner working in Columbus, Ralston says time goes pretty fast.

“I can remember everything about working at WDTV and every job after that and I can tell you it just flew by,” said Ralston. “Even to think now I’ve been doing this for so long, I promise you it freaks me out sometimes.”

Ralston says the industry has changed so much since she has started, but hard work and dedication helped her get to where she is today.

“Carry yourself at a higher standard, have morals and be able to stand your ground and just be committed to journalism,” said Ralston. “Telling the truth and have compassion and having respect for people.”

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