9 questions for Vanessa Echols as she reflects on 28 years at WFTV

ORLANDO, Fla. — On August 3, 1992, Vanessa Echols walked through the doors of WFTV to start her first day of work. We asked her 9 questions about the last 28 years.

Question 1: What was your first day at Ch. 9 like?

Vanessa: I hit the ground running...well...not really. I was in Skywitness 9 on my first day, covering a story from the air.

Question 2: When did Central Florida begin to feel like home?

Vanessa: Immediately. Even before I officially moved here, when I was here apartment hunting, one of the reporters at Channel 9, Sharon Dennis, drove me around town and introduced me to her friends outside of work.

Outwork everybody else. That’ll get you noticed.

—  Vanessa Echols

Question 3: You’ve covered some big stories at Ch.9, but when it comes to the every day ones, which do you think about the most and why?

Vanessa: The ones where we issue a call to action and people in Central Florida respond. When we hold a blood drive and people donate, when we ask them to help with school supplies and they respond, when we ask for donations to help people who’ve lost so much in a natural disaster and they donate, when we ask them to donate toys for Toys For Tots and our lobby is overrun with toys.

Read: 9 questions for Greg Warmoth as he reflects on 34 years at WFTV

Question 4: What advice do you have for someone who is starting a new job?

Vanessa: Outwork everybody else. That’ll get you noticed.

Question 5: What has changed the most about television news since you started at Ch.9?

Vanessa: Technology! I’m still amazed that I was anchoring the news from home for several weeks. If you told me that in 1992 when I started, I would say you’re crazy and that could never happen.

Question 6: You’ve taken on the role as a community leader, with Compassionate Hearts & Hands. What made you decide to get involved?

Vanessa: Compassionate Hands and Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach was born out of my own cancer journey and witnessing things patients need and in some cases, they don’t have anyone to help them.

Read Vanessa’s story about surviving breast cancer

Question 7: What is something you wish you could tell yourself in 1992?

Vanessa: Daily you will see how cruel some people can be, but also how resilient and kind people can be.

Question 8: You read a lot. What is one book that has helped shape you?

Vanessa: I love books! So asking me to pick one is so difficult. But one that had a profound impact on me is Arthur Ashe’s Days Of Grace because he said: “If I were to say God why me about the bad things, then I should have said God why me, about the good things that happened in my life.

Question 9: What are you the most proud of as you celebrate this anniversary?

Vanessa: That I’m still here!

Vanessa Echols

Vanessa Echols, WFTV.com

I have been a member of the Eyewitness News team since 1992 and currently anchor Eyewitness News at Noon and 4 p.m. on Channel 9.