Clinton Native Linda Asberry Angelle looks back on 30 years of chasing the news, Texas style

Posted August 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm


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Linda Asberry Angelle, a Clinton County native and Clinton County High School graduate of 1976, has spent over 30 years as a photojournalist with NBC Dallas – Fort Worth affiliate KXAS. She recently sent the Clinton County News a brief overview of some of her experiences from behind the news cameras in the past three decades.

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Like so many who graduate from Clinton County High School, Linda Asberry – now Linda Angelle – left her Albany and Clinton County home to further her education, then she landed on a career path that kept her away from her Kentucky roots for the next three decades.

Linda, the daughter of Hale and Arawana Asberry, is a 1976 graduate of Clinton County High School and grew up in the Sugar Valley Community of southeast Clinton County.

Her parents were both long-time educators in the Clinton County school system, Hale an elementary school teacher for many years and her mother, Arawana, a Commerce teacher at the Clinton County Vocational School.

Linda, an only child, didn’t choose to follow in her parents footsteps when she embarked on a career in photojournalism – a direction she had long dreamed of taking.

In the 1976 Clintonian, the C.C.H.S. annual, a “look ahead” account of just how the 20 year reunion for her graduating class might have turned out in 1996, mentions that Linda had “taken over the job of Candid Camera”.

Her career path did not actually take her to the scenes of the Candid Camera television show, but a three-decade plus journalism career that has mostly been spent in Texas, did find Linda behind and in front of a television camera.

Angelle was recently honored by KXAS Channel 5, the NBC television affiliate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas she has called her home station for the past 30 years.

Although it doesn’t happen as often as she would like, she does get the chance to return to Albany and Clinton County from time to time to visit with her parents and friends, and during one of those visits recently she stopped by the office of the Clinton County News.

Al Gibson, Clinton County News Editor, after learning of her 30 year ceremony and being honored by NBC, suggested she put together a brief overview of some of the most memorable events she worked behind a television news camera.

The following is that account in Linda’s own words, along with a few choice photos she emailed to us this week.

Although the word “retire” was mentioned a time or two in recent conversations with her, she continues to remain on the job today – not only covering the events in her home area, but now lending her expertise of a 30 year career, to those younger staff members at the station.

“At the end of July they called me into the newsroom and gave me my 30 year certificate along with a standing ovation. One reporter told me he was stunned to realize I had been at Channel 5 longer than he had been alive. This got me thinking about all the stories I’ve done and the changes I’ve seen. The equipment has evolved (thank goodness) from the 30 pound camera, 15 pound record deck and five or more pounds of batteries, to about half the weight and size. Unfortunately the field crews have shrunk from producer, editor, photographer, reporter and live engineer to photographer and reporter. Now I shoot, produce, edit, set up the live shot and sometimes even do the reporting. We added four more hours of news and all the reporters are live on location to front our stories. We also have several portable live units to use when we can’t get a signal with a live van and there is even an app that lets us stream live video through our cell phones.

“In 1984 when I first came to Texas they called it the “Golden Age” of television. We traveled to wherever there was news and sometimes worked on one story for weeks or even months. In Fort Hood, I got to shoot from a moving tank with the army. We did the Republican and Democratic conventions, and were in Washington for the inauguration of both the Bush presidents. I went to the Super Bowl (when the Cowboys were winning) and even flew with the Canadian Snow Birds over downtown Dallas. I will always remember hearing the three tenors and interviewing Pavarotti. Ella Fitzgerald gave an autographed photo. My reporter got stuck in traffic and I spent a lovely half hour chatting with Tom Hanks who was in town to promote one of his first films, Big. We went to Southfork with the cast of Dallas. Larry Hagman (J.R) was the nicest guy you’d ever meet.

“But mostly news working hard for a lot of hours to put a minute and thirty seconds on the air. Some of you may remember when they pulled baby Jessica out of the well. We bought the tallest ladders we could find to get a good angle. And since they could bring her out at any minute, someone had to be on top of those ladders for two days straight. We lived on McDonald’s hamburgers the Salvation Army brought for everyone. After firemen pulled Baby Jessica from the well, we all finally got a shower and a sit down dinner. I was so exhausted, I fell asleep and went face first into my food.

“I spent over a month in Waco for the Branch Davidian compound standoff. We worked around the clock and drove to a gas station two miles away for a bathroom break until news stations paid for port-a-potties. Every day I hoped the children would leave safely but as weeks passed it didn’t seem likely. I shot the fire that ended so many lives from the helicopter. And the Oklahoma City bombing just broke my heart.

“I chased tornadoes all these years and finally ended up in one this year. Lucky for me it was an F0. We were streaming live video on our cell phone when the tornado sirens blared and tree branches flew past our windows. The rain was coming down sideways so fast the streets flooded in minutes. The wind shook the live van but then it was over. We got soaked through our rain gear shooting the damage but stayed through the 10 p.m. news to be live in front of a church that had the front blown off. My poor husband never knows when he’ll see me.

“Many photographers say they are in news because they are addicted to the adrenalin rush like when we used to ride along with the swat teams. I used to have time to keep journals and I found one about a SWAT ride- along I went on.

“ ‘My heart is pounding as the van skids to a stop. Everyone bursts out of the van in a blur of black. I am running as fast as I can and shooting. I try to see where I’m going out of my left eye while looking through the camera with my right hoping I don’t trip or fall over a step or curb. The police are at the door and there is an ear splitting boom. I jump about a foot off the ground but keep running. My SWAT buddy notices and grins. “Those concussion grenades sure are loud aren’t they?” he says. Suspects are now on the ground. My reporter arrives in the marked news car. We interview the neighbors who hope this will make their community safer for their children. It feels like I have been shooting for hours but it’s only been 15 minutes.” These days we are kept far away behind the crime scene tape. Maybe our adrenalin rush now is trying to make our deadlines for the four, five and six newscasts.

“Last year ice – we had an unheard of six inches of ice in Texas. When I’m standing out on a bridge in sub-zero temperatures, trying to keep my camera from icing over and losing the feeling in my fingers, I am counting the days until I can retire! But then our story about an overcrowded animal shelter brings in people to adopt pets that would have been killed. Or a church that was robbed of the food they had collected to feed the poor, gets donations that double the amount that was stolen. Knowing that sometimes we can make a difference gets me through the tough times. And when I get to cover the World Series or the Bruce Springsteen concert at the Final Four, I know there is nothing else I would rather be doing.”

Early in her career, a young Linda Asberry Angelle is shown above with one of the video cameras she used when she first began working for the Dallas – Fort Worth NBC affiliate KXAS.

Below, Angelle with a modern camera and the 30 year certificate she was presented with during a ceremony a few weeks ago at the Texas television station.

Linda Asberry Angelle enjoyed a few minutes of the performance by the group FUN just prior to the stage appearance by Bruce Springsteen at the 2014 NCAA Final Four Fan Jamb concert before picking up her television camera and getting back to work as a videographer with the Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate WKAS.