Profile of Meghan Welsh

Meghan Welsh walked into the Starbucks around pentagon city. She had her blonde hair tied back, wearing a navy cap with a ‘B’ on it and shiny earrings. She was also wearing a gray T-shirt and a sky blue North Face jacket. She ordered a cup of tea instead of coffee, saying that most of journalists like drinking coffee, but she doesn’t. She started to talk about her special stories, sitting on a chair around a small circle table in Starbucks.

“Do anything. Always be willing to say that yes I can do that. Take every opportunity that you get. Always be eager and helpful and always be willing to do whatever,” says Welsh who works at PBS as a reporter and a producer. “Even if it’s small, go get me a coffee, I need photo copy. Whatever it is. Just always be willing to say yes, because then when a good opportunity comes they will be ready to ask you.”

Meghan Welsh has always loved to read and write. When she was a child, she was very interested in becoming an English teacher. However, she had her first journalism experience in high school and began to change her mind. The former Washington Semester Program student didn’t start out as a reporter at PBS, but after a short time she moved back to the field that she started in high school. Welsh, who is close with her family and her long-time boyfriend, is happy with the choices she has made so far.

Drinking a cup of hot tea, Meghan Welsh, 26, who has attractive brown eyes begins to talk. She originally intended on being an English teacher not journalist because she loves reading books and writing. “But when I was in high school, I wrote some articles for high school paper. When I was in college, I joined the college paper. I did it just for fun because I like to write. I was bitten by the journalism bug, and then I really just enjoyed it.”

She started working at PBS three days after she graduated from college. She did not start working there in journalism. She got a job there in public relations. “My first job was promoting the News Hour to other people and organizations,” says Welsh. “I did that about a year. I was a production assistant for about a year and a half. After that, I got a promotion to the report and producer position. It’s been about four and a half years. It’s gone by really fast. I can’t believe it’s been five years.”

When she gets in the office every morning, her boss usually gives her an assignment, whatever her story is going to be for that day. Her job is all throughout the day to follow that story. “As I’m following it on the wires, reading stories, making phone calls, going to press events, briefing that kind of thing,” says Welsh. “I put together script. I have production assistants who work with me. As I’m writing the script, they are gathering all the video pieces from a lot of different sources to put it all together.”

In the early afternoon, she has a correspondent who will voice the pieces. She goes in to visit her editor. She has an editor who puts together the voice with her script with video footage from the production assistant. “We usually go into the edit room at like 2p.m. and on the air by 6p.m.,” she says. “It’s about a four hours term for the piece, sometimes less. Things can change too. I’ve done pieces before where at 4 o’clock, President Obama will come out to say something that totally changes the whole piece. You really have to be flexible and ready to change things anytime. That’s basically what I do.”

Tiffany Mullon, 29, has worked for five years with Meghan Welsh. She is also a reporter and producer. “Meghan is a wonderful colleague. We have had a lot of great experiences working together at PBS,” says Mullon. “We had a lot of fun covering the last presidential race together, especially at the conventions. They were long days but we worked hard and got to experience some great things. Meghan is very dedicated to her work as a journalist, as we all are at PBS. She works under the highest standard of journalism ethics.”

Meghan Welsh was born in 1984 in Wilbraham, Massachusetts. She has been close with her parents. She admires her mother, Maria Welsh, “My mom worked in a bank. When she had me, she decided to stay home. She was always into having birthday parties for us. She is a great cook. She makes a really good soup like a vegetable soup. She taught me how to cook.”

Meghan Welsh slowly sipped her tea. Her dad, Terry, is also precious for her. “My dad works in an insurance company. He and I are very alike. My mom and I are very different. We look alike and talk alike.” She is the oldest. Her younger sister, Kattlin, 24, is studying to be a teacher. Her younger bother, Kevin, 18, is in a college now. They are still very close.

Maria Welsh, 54, says “It’s no surprise that she has a career in television,” said Maria. “She loved to watch videos from an early age and her favorite was Sesame Street. She would watch Sesame Street all day if we’d let her. She taught herself to read by watching the show. It’s kind of funny to think about her love for Sesame Street as a baby, because now she works for PBS. She loved books like no other child I had ever seen. As soon as we would ravel to visit her grandparents, she would crawl to her books and sit on his lap for hours with him reading to her. When I would need her to take a nap in the afternoon, I would put her in her crib with a stack of books and she’d sit and read them over and over again. Her teachers praised her writing skills, even when she was very young. So with her interests in television, reading, and writing, it seems fitting that she eventually pursued a career as a television producer.”

Her college, Providence College, was so small. They did not have journalism classes. So she chose Washington Semester Program when she was junior. “My major was English. I wanted to be a journalist. I probably needed to get some experience,” she says. “Providence Island was very small. There wasn’t a lot there. So I decided to choose the Washington Semester Program. I think Washington is very special place for that kind of things.”

She began to talk about her life in American University, looking back on the past. A light sparks in her eyes. “I remembered what we were doing now. We did some project about Vietnam War,” says Welsh. “We had a speaker. I don’t remember who was. We even went out to a restaurant in George Town to eat Vietnamese food. I appreciate that my professor, Iris was trying to get us out of the class room. You know, some journalism class, you just sit in the class room and professor talks and that’s it. But Iris’s class, that was more interactive.”

            Meghan Welsh has been with her boyfriend for nine years. They were friends for a couple of years, before dating. She started to talk about him and her future plans. “He is my biggest supporter. When I went to Washington for WSP, some guys would say ‘I don’t want you to go,’ but he was like ‘go, do it! Great opportunity!’,”she says. “So, I think probably marriage, hopefully some kids, maybe in a couple more years. Staying in journalism or maybe teaching eventually journalism or English professor. Maybe. I’m trying to figure it out.”

She just finished her tea. Then she said she is going to go home and wake up her boyfriend after this interview. “Right now my plan is in journalism. But industry in journalism is changing so fast. I think right now a lot of people don’t know where it’s gonna go, what it’s gonna be like in five or ten years,” says Welsh, smiling brightly. “But you know, I love my job and I love what I do. I can do and learn something different everyday.”

Ilwah Moon