Thursday, April 22, 2010

"It's All About Community": A Profile of Rochester News Icon Janet Lomax

Janet Lomax is an award-winning News Anchor who works for WHEC-TV, Channel 10 in Rochester, New York. With over three decades of experience in broadcast journalism, Janet has written and co-produced numerous TV specials, and is responsible for Rochester's heralded Best Seat in the House series (which focuses on the local arts scene). She's also a member of several organizations of note, including Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and the National Association of Black Journalists.

About four and a half years before she became a trusted news legend and personality in the Rochester area, Janet served as a reporter/photographer at WAVE-TV3 in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where she had attended Murray State University. While at WAVE-TV3, she was quickly assigned additional duties as host/producer of Urban Insight, a weekly public affairs program. As she recalls, "I figured I would either land a job behind the camera or in front of it. And glad I did."

That said, on screen or off, Janet has taken her role as a journalist, seriously. "I feel a great responsibility to our viewers to present a clear, concise and informative newscast," she says. "I've always been a 'communicator' in one form or another. I loved to write as a child. In high school, I was one of our senior class speakers at graduation. I was also active with a professional children's theatre company. We had an opportunity to do some taped segments in a television studio and I fell in love with the production aspect of TV. I decided to major in Radio/TV Production in college and added Journalism as well."

Over the years, various members of her family have proved inspirational, and she has enjoyed many family-oriented classic TV shows, including The Cosby Show, 227, I Love Lucy, Leave It To Beaver, and The Andy Griffith Show. She's also enjoyed the series, Night Heat (which is not yet available on DVD), contemporary shows like Friday Night Lights, and much of the programming made available on the HGTV network.

Meanwhile, countless viewers and members of the Rochester community have enjoyed and admired Janet's presence on screen for years. Rochester viewers and citizens have depended on her trusted voice to relay the news, and her respected presence at various charity events. "Wonderful," is how she defines the Rochester community, and goes on to say how "many native Rochesterians mixed with many transplants," who moved to Rochester and remained, due to employment opportunities created by Xerox, Kodak, and other industry giants in the city (which has, over the years, have included international institutions like French's Mustard, Bausch & Lomb, Hickey Freeman clothiers).

It's safe to say, that the Rochester community, in particular, as well as the definition of community in general means a great deal to Janet. She recently completed reading In The Neighborhood-The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time (by Rochester author Peter Lovenheim). As she explains, this book "focuses on how we don't know our neighbors, and why it can be important to create that sense of 'community.'"

Clearly, Janet Lomax believes that all forms of media, specifically, TV, play important roles in society. "If used correctly," she says, "television can be a great educator." With regard to her particular position in the communications industry, "The work of a journalist is to convey what is happening in the world around us - information that we can use in our daily lives."

However, such information might not have been so fully conveyed - and as widely accepted and embraced - in the Rochester community - and elsewhere, if not for professional, respected and amiable personas such as Janet Lomax.

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