Every night she watched the local news with her parents and one day her mother turned to her and said, “Jackie, you would be great at that!” From that day on she decided she wanted to do what she saw on television.
Today, she shoots, writes, edits and reports her own stories. Jackie Ingles, a Loyola alumna, is a multimedia journalist for WFTS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Tampa, Florida. She has covered President Barack Obama’s campaign and recently won a National Headliner Award for “breaking news coverage.” For her, every day is a new adventure.
“I wake up and don’t really know where I’m going to end up. I can have an idea and pitch it during a meeting but there have been days where I’m in the 5 p.m. show covering a wildfire, by nine o’clock I’m on the scene of a triple homicide and by 10 p.m. something else has broken across town. You never know where your job is going to take you, “ she says.
A Chicago native, Ingles graduated from Loyola in 2006 where she majored in journalism. The school’s downtown location allowed her to gain experience outside of the classroom. She completed internships at WBBM-TV and WLS-TV.
Her first job was “not your typical broadcast job,” says Ingles.
When President Barack Obama was still a senator, Ingles worked as a political correspondent for MTV news covering its “Choose or Lose” campaign in Chicago.
“It was the cutting edge of multimedia. Everything I had fit into a backpack. When Obama was elected everyone was at Grant Park and I was climbing up a tree to get a shot on my little camera,” she jokes. “My office was my home or whatever coffee shop I could set up my computer and edit.”
Later, Ingles accepted a job covering stories that included droughts, homicides and wildfires for WTCV’s bureau in Valdosta, Georgia. From there she moved to Austin, Texas where she was a multiplatform journalist for KXAN. While working here, some of her work was broadcast numerous times on CNN. It was also during that time working as a “one-woman band” that she experienced one of the most terrifying moments of her life. She was sent to a small town to cover a severe drought and in order to demonstrate a comparison shot; she stood next to a water marker out in a dry field.
“The ground just went out from under me and next thing I knew I was neck deep in mud. My camera and my tripod were underground and I was trying to get out but the more I pushed, the more I sank. It was like quicksand,” she explained. “I thought I was going to die.”
A few minutes later, someone realized she was in danger and helped pull her out. Ingles cleaned off her camera and finished the story.
In her spare time, she participates as a member of “Generation J,” a committee organized by the Society of Professional Journalists that serves as a mentorship space for “budding mobile journalists” as Ingles describes it. She periodically writes blog posts about different experiences, such as what it’s like working in a bureau, what to include in a demo reel, and what to expect when you move to a small town. Being able to help young journalists is very important to her.
When asked if Loyola helped her career, Ingles says, “Absolutely, 100%.”
“The amount of work that I did there and the demand for quality work really set me up to be able to handle things at a higher level,” she explains. “Loyola gave me a lot confidence and support for what I wanted to do. It was the most fundamental building block, hands down.”