Sarah Ruane was the absolute coolest lady I have ever had the pleasure to speak to. An interview was arranged for us this past Tuesday, and we met in the school library for a chat on her career as a journalist. Previous to our conversation, I had a preset characterization of those in the field in journalism field; they were very serious and centered every conversation around what was the biggest story in the news at the current time. But Sarah delivered me a happy surprise. While being very straightforward and factual in her answers to my inquiries, she gave off the witty vibe that is so very often seen in her brother, Colonie’s own Kevin Ruane. Her aura matched that of one of your mom’s cool friends, the one that would babysit you, buy you a milkshake and introduce you to My So Called Life. Completely in awe of her already, I knew our interview would be beyond enjoyable.
Sarah grew up in Voorheesville, New York and attended high school there as well. After graduating, she went on to get a four year degree in broadcast journalism at Ithaca College. She explained that declaring her major specifically broadcast journalism only meant that in her senior year she mainly did TV and production, but still took print journalism classes as well. Surprisingly though, she shared that she never really participated in any writing or reporting activities outside of her normal classes. She did, however, get an internship in her junior year at News Channel 13. “It was a lot of watching,” she explained, “Watching them put the pieces together, and then I sat on the set while they were anchoring. It was mostly observation based.”
Quite like myself, Sarah found her love for writing originally in the fact that she had no interest in math or science. “I didn’t have an interest in them like I did in English, in reading and writing. And then I don't really know where the news came from. I always just liked it. I don’t know, that probably made me a nerd when I was little.” She just seemed to find interest in the fact that the writing was creative without being fictional. It doesn’t really come as a surprise that Sarah found herself writing though, seeing as her brother is now an English teacher and her parents were always big readers who encouraged their kids to do the same. “We both sort of just found our way there,” was her explanation for how she and her brother’s occupations came to be. But with a background of supportive English professors in her own school years, Sarah always had writing and reading laced into her life one way or another.
After gathering as to how she came to be where she is today, I had to know where exactly this place was. Sarah’s normal work day as the Assignment Desk Supervisor and Internship Coordinator involves an arrival at seven, and a morning meeting at 9:15. The two hours in between gives her the chance to organize and plan for the rest of the day’s possible events and stories. After the morning meeting, which ends roughly around 10:30, Sarah gets on a conference call with all the other assignment editors from across the state. “We kind of just let each other know if there is a cool statewide story,” she explained. The idea of different stations actually helping each other out, for the common goal of getting the news out, was refreshing. It’s nice to know it’s not all about the ratings. The rest of her day is mainly about keeping watch on the police scanners for stories, and making sure the stories that are already out there are being taken care of. Lastly, there is a viewing of the other stations broadcasts. “It’s good for the producers to see exactly how the other stations are, we call it stacking their shows, which basically just means what order they're putting things in.” And before her departure home, Sarah tries to take a look ahead at the next day’s possible stories, so she isn't “walking in cold every day.” She doesn’t usually end up leaving work until five though, so she can stay for the reporter deadline in case they need help on a piece. The job does get hectic a lot she confessed, but then went on to say that “that’s just the nature of the entire business.” The police scanners she sits in front of never stop going off with a variety of reports and the phones are constantly ringing, which does bring
some stress to the job. But despite the craziness of the job, Sarah never wishes she had a different career. She explained that the days that are the craziest “are the days that we all hope for.” And while she doesn't mean her and her colleagues wish for horrible events to occur in a Lemony Snicket type manner, the slow days are the ones that the reporters so desperately want a story for.