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Job Envy: NewsChannel 21 Weather Anchor Emily Kirk

Emily Kirk, the evening weather anchor for NewsChannel 21, has known she wanted to be a TV reporter since she was 10 years old.

Emily Kirk NewsChannel 21
Emily Kirk reporting for NewsChannel 21

The most asked question of Emily Kirk, the evening weather anchor for NewChannel 21 (NC21), is how the greenscreen works. “The greenscreen is everyone’s favorite part,” she said with a laugh. She started at NC21 four years ago and became the evening weather anchor in 2016. It was a job she’s known she wanted since she was 10 years old, when she was moved by a TV reporters emotional storytelling on a tragic news story. “It struck a nerve,” she said, “and that’s what I wanted to do.”

She’s a graduate of University of Oregon where she produced for and anchored Duck TV, and learned the technical side of reporting. She moved to Bend with an idea of moving up to a larger TV market, but fell in love with the town and decided to stay.

The morning we talked, Kirk was on her way up to Tumalo Mountain for a hike, before coming back to town, putting on her TV makeup, and reporting the news and weather. Here’s what a typical workday looks like for her.

Sometime between 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. (depending on the day’s activities)

Emily Kirk hiking up Tumalo Mountain in Bend, Oregon

While everyone else is getting their hustle and bustle on at work, I’m just waking up. Breakfast is usually small: a hard-boiled egg, apple with peanut butter or oatmeal. Monday through Friday I have five to six hours in the mornings and early afternoon to do as I wish before work. Some mornings the rig is packed with skis, boots and layers and I’m off to Mount Bachelor. Other times of the year I weigh other outdoor activity options: mountain biking? A 5-mile hike along the river? Paddleboarding in the sun? Or maybe I’m being an “adult” and going grocery shopping or to the dentist. The day could include volunteering with the American Red Cross or speaking to a group of first graders answering questions like, “did you have braces?”

Today I sleepily said “goodbye” to my boyfriend as he left for work, looked out the window at the frost on the roof and debated carrying through with my plans (my cold threshold is extremely low), made a cup of coffee, loaded up the car and headed out the door.

By 11:30 a.m. I was at the top of Tumalo Mountain taking in the views of the fresh dusting of snow on the Cascades. When I got back to the car at 12:15 p.m. I decided to try biking on a trail near Tumalo Mountain. Because I’m learning and new to mountain biking I don’t go for very long by myself, so I was back in the car by 1 p.m.

At 1:30 p.m. I arrived to the Athletic Club of Bend where I did a quick weight circuit, sweated the rest out in the sauna, showered quickly (non-hair washing day – dry shampoo saves lives!), and headed to work.

2:30 p.m.: Prep Time

I go through my checklist: Dress? Check. Straightener? Check. Make up bag? Check. Snacks? Duh. (I’ll usually throw some veggie sticks, hummus, apples, protein bars, or a random leftover in my lunch bag). I head off to work in either my dirty midsized SUV (so Bend-y) or motor scooter. If I go the back way I can make it to work in less than ten minutes.

2:45 p.m.: “The Daily Grind”

First task is hair and makeup. (Yes, I do it myself. No, there is no hair and makeup person.) To be quite honest, this is my least favorite part of the day. If you’ve seen me outside of work I am typically out enjoying the elements—sunscreen all over my face, sweat dripping from my forehead or wet from swimming. I’ll drink another coffee in the dressing room while I get ready. Shout out to Strictly Organic for the work caffeine!

4 p.m.: “Now, From Central Oregon’s Newsleader this is NewsChannel 21 Fox at Four.”

Emily Kirk at NewsChannel 21

By this time I should have the promo—a quick video to tease ahead to the evening shows—and most of the forecast done. I update graphics and numbers throughout the day during our newscasts at 4, 5, 6, 6:30, 7, 10, 10:30, and 11 p.m. For the next seven and a half hours I, personally, will be responsible for around forty-five minutes of ad-libbing on live television. During the early evening shows I often use Facebook Live to interact with viewers and answer questions.

My job is essentially to be the messenger. I research what the weather will bring and how it will impact our community for the next week. Whether (ha! I never make puns!) it be “good” or “bad” weather, my job is to best inform you in an efficient and effective manner to get you prepared for your day. Should I wash my car (you know every time you do that it rains, right)? Will I need my powder skis or rock skis? Are clouds going to block my view of the Cascades?

7:45 p.m.: Dinner Break

Some nights I’m at home eating quinoa and veggies followed by a walk around the neighborhood. Other nights I’m meeting friends for a bite. Or maybe Costco is calling my name for a quick shopping trip accompanied by pizza.

Tonight I met a few friends at Goodlife for some story-swapping over a delicious soul-warming garlic potato soup. We laughed about how we really should learn how to change a bike tire tube and talked about how much has changed and what has stayed the same. After hugs goodbye in the cold parking lot we vowed to “do this again soon!” and we will. Maybe a few months from now, but we will.

10:00 p.m. – 11:45 p.m.: The Late Shows

Emily Kirk KTVZ
Emily Kirk in front of the greenscreen.

Back to work for another hour and a half of live TV. During this time, I make sure the forecast is still accurate, update any graphics and monitor social media. This time of night is interesting at NewsChannel 21 because only a few people are working. We have a technical director, audio/graphics person, producer, reporter, anchor and myself. At 11:35 p.m. The Tonight Show music plays and we take off our microphones, turn down the studio lights and say goodnight to each other. The hum of the cleaning crews’ vacuum says farewell as I head out the door with my trusty backpack.

Midnight – 1 a.m.: Wind Down

I’m home and begin to settle into the night. The house is quiet, dark, and sleepy, and so am I. I’ll either do the remaining dishes in the sink, watch a quick show or read. Recently, I’ve been stretching out the day’s work on the living room carpet right before I head upstairs. Then it’s time for the fifteen-minute process of removing my makeup, brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed. I fall asleep to the smell of lavender lotion and plan out the next day’s unique story according to the forecast I just gave to thousands of people. If I have plans to play outside the next day and rain ruins my plans, then I’ll also be cursing the weatherperson.

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