Kristina Rex

Reporter (or MMJ —Multimedia Journalist as she calls herself)  Kristina Rex came to talk to our Journalism class during a maroon 1 block and although she nailed her presentation, she admitted her mind was elsewhere. She was “incredibly nervous” about an assignment looming large that afternoon.

“I am an incredibly sympathetic person and have a lot of empathy. I know I personally  would not want someone to come knocking on my door asking about an experience like this,” she said. But despite her nerves, she was headed out that afternoon to knock on the door of Sandy Goulet, the ex-girlfriend of Normal Strobel, who police say was responsible for last month’s shootings in Naples and Casco, killing one man and injuring another. No station had been able to get an interview with a family member and Channel 6 was determined to break the more personal side of this domestic violence case.

Hours after her visit to our class, Kristina’s in depth piece aired on the evening news. The story was an ultimate score as a journalist. It was also an important step in giving a voice to the victims of domestic abuse. Even though Goulet’s abuser was shot dead, his threatening behavior still haunts her.

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Pictured: Kristina Rex takes time to chat with the students of Thornton Academy early one morning.

Rex never would have imagined herself in Maine doing this work just 6 years ago! In high school she loved math and theater. When she attended Boston College she declared a Communications major because she could not imagine a math related job she would enjoy doing. Her passion for Journalism was sparked by a presentation by ABC journalist JuJu Chang. Kristina had been attending a conference on albinism for years (Her sister is an albino.) Chang was sharing her undercover work reporting on Tanzania’s gruesome black market for Albino body parts. Kristian was taken by how her interests in action, service, learning might be combined with journalism to help impact the world.

Rex worked many internships to help develop her portfolio and kept pushing to learn more throughout college. One of her first internships was in Sports and while she loves watching sports, she said the reason she went into Journalism was to cover a variety of stories and she feels sports can become a little repetitive.

She landed her first paying job in Bangor Maine through a combination of luck and preparation. After graduating from college, she spent the summer waitressing and preparing her resume real.  Her dad was bartending in Boston when he met a guy who said he might be able to help connect her with Journalist in the Maine market. This helped her get her foot in the door. After 3 phone interviews and 3 in person interviews, Rex was hired.

She knew how to write and how to think and how to appear confident on the camera, all the rest she learned on the job! She was almost immediately expected to work as a one man band, shooting editing and going live with her stories each day. In fact she has become so used to doing all her own work, on days when she has the luxury of help she finds it hard to accept it. “I’m kind of a control freak, so it’s hard to let go when I get help on a piece.”Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 8.53.44 AM

She was performing in Rock of Ages at the Bangor Theater in her free time and working non- stop the rest of the time when she got asked to move down to WCSH Channel 6 in Portland. She moved after the last show and started reporting that week.

Although she didn’t have as much experience as other reporters, her strength is in part that she is a millennial who understands who to produce fresh pieces using new technology and is at home tweeting and teasing her stories on Facebook.   

Rex has been told the first 3 year as a journalist are the hardest, she is in her second year and for the most part embracing every challenge. “I’m a big nerd, if I could be in school forever, I would. This job allows me to learn new things every day.”

There have been frustrations though. She admits as a cute blond, stations like to send her to cover cute feel good stories, but she loves doing harder hitting crime and investigative reporting pieces the most. She has had to push to be allowed to cover politics and crime stories. It can be tense inserting herself into crime scenes, but she feels like most journalist have a good relationship with police because there is a mutual understanding that they are both just doing their jobs. With that being said, Rex is up for any new challenge thrown her way, having never turned down an assignment before. Although,  there is one she wished she had! She was asked to cover a dramatic storm in Eastport Maine and headed off on her own in the snow. Halfway there she realized how dangerous it was, the windshield wiper was broken and she was skidding all over the road and she hadn’t seen a car for miles. But she kept pushing forward. “I never want to let people down, so I did it, but it was a long 17 hour day,” she said laughing at the memory.

Although Kristina seems completely competent and put together, there are days when she feels lonely —most of her friends, family and her boyfriend live in Boston and other days like today when the stress can get a bit overwhelming. But she has found ways to cope with this busy demanding lifestyle. When she is stressed or has some free time she enjoys Thai food and a movie, making time for a spinning class, even when there is no time, blasting music on long drive to interviews and singing all the way there are all helpful.

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Kristina Rex poses for a group photo with Mrs. Hall’s journalism class.

“My favorite part of the job is meeting cool people every day. I got to interview an astronaut and Tom Brady, and I also get to meet people with lives I’ve never imagined.” There are also some things that Rex does not enjoy about her job, she says, “I get offended when people insult our station or my career because we put so much work into being balance and fair…so much work.”

In another life she might want to be a teacher, both her parents are, or to become a star on Broadway if she is really dreaming, for tonight she is going to sleep content that she nailed the dream interview and tomorrow the next one awaits.                                            


 

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