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Monday, Sep. 1, 2014

Alcorn: 'This is my stepping stone'

Saturday, July 24, 2010

By Leonna Heuring

leonnah@standard-democrat.com

SIKESTON -- Winning his first Emmy award last month was a major career highlight for broadcast journalist and Sikeston native Cody Alcorn.

But the 27-year-old news anchor and reporter for the FOX affiliate, WHNS FOX Carolina, in Greenville, S.C., said he has more to prove -- to the industry and to himself.

"I don't have a big head, and I'm still down to earth," Alcorn assured. "I'm not there yet, and this (Emmy) is my stepping stone."

Alcorn won the award for his feature news report, "Nothing Left To Lose." Making the victory even sweeter was the fact all of his fellow nominees were from a larger Atlanta-based station.

Alcorn's Emmy-winning piece told the story of a young woman who lost her state trooper husband and infant child within a few months' time.

"It was showing people you never know what's going to happen from day to day. She met the man of her dreams, married him, had their son, and within four or five months, it was all ripped away from her," said Alcorn, who admitted he still watches the video when he needs a reality check.

Alcorn said the Emmy award sits in his bedroom and serves as a reminder of the hard work and time he's already put into his career which began only a few years ago.

"I won it, and it will always be with me, but the reality is it's just a statue. That Emmy is not going to get me there," he said, adding he normally really isn't into awards but decided to give them a try this year.

Alcorn, who is the son of Mary Lynn Alcorn of Sikeston and Denny Alcorn of Morley, went to school at The University of Tennessee at Martin, where he graduated with a bachelor's of arts degree in communications.

Before moving to Greenville in July 2006, Cody worked in Jackson, Tenn., where he was a co-anchor on "Good Morning West Tennessee" at WBBJ-TV.

Alcorn worked as a weekend reporter until FOX Carolina decided to revamp its morning show, The Morning News, in January. It went to a four-hour format with Alcorn promoted as a co-anchor of the second half of the show from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern Time. The FOX affiliate reaches viewers in Western North Carolina, Northeast Georgia and Upstate South Carolina.

"It was a huge adjustment," Alcorn recalled about anchoring again. "I went back to my roots and went from working 3 p.m. to midnight to 4 a.m. to noon and going to bed at 7 p.m. each night."

But Alcorn is by no means complaining.

"I still get to go out in the field and do stories," Alcorn said, adding he also likes the challenge of anchoring.

Alcorn is quick to point out anchoring the morning news isn't as glamorous a job as it may seem. His alarm goes off at 2:45 a.m. Monday through Friday, he said.

"It's not what people think. I don't get up and am ready. I get up, throw on a T-shirt; I don't do my hair. I shower, put on dress pants and shoes, and I leave," Alcorn said.

When he arrives to work, he writes stories, makes news beat calls, listens to the police scanner and later gets ready himself for the camera, which includes wearing makeup and fixing his hair. Just before going on the air, Alcorn said he gets ready which includes opening his energy drink and coughing so his voice is ready for the broadcast.

"I'm working from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. to get ready for a two- hour show," Alcorn said.

When the morning show is over, Alcorn spends his time working on and reporting other news stories.

During his time at FOX Carolina Alcorn has reported on some of the region's biggest stories. He reported from Columbia when musician Travis Barker and DJ AM's airplane crashed during take off. He reported live from the scene of a 13-hour standoff at a Madison, Ga., motel which stemmed from an Amber Alert in South Carolina. He was also part of the station's team that reported live from Washington, D.C., during President Obama's inauguration.

Alcorn's other work includes reporting as deputies raided drug houses, took down prostitutes in the act and busted men accused of trying to meet up with children for sex.

While he loves his job, the only downfall is he doesn't get to see his parents that often, especially since he has to work holidays, Alcorn said.

Mary Lynn Alcorn, who attended the Emmys with her son, said words can't describe the pride she has for her son and his accomplishments.

"For him to have gone outside of his comfort zone and pursue a career he has no concept of and is totally new to him -- and then went to a new city -- he took the bull by the horns and was totally on his own," Alcorn said about her son.

She said every parent has moments of pride with their children, and her son's Emmy win was one of those times.

"He's so humble and modest and gracious about all of it," she said. "His dedication is crazy. That's what has driven him. His expectations of himself are high, and he won't ever settle for anything less -- and he pushes himself."

Meanwhile, Alcorn said he will remain at FOX Carolina for at least the next two years, and beyond that, he isn't sure.

"You never know. I didn't think I'd be in Greenville this long, and it's great city with a strong market -- but this isn't where I want to end it," Alcorn said of his career.

Alcorn admitted he'd like to work for a bigger market someday, maybe even for a network.

"I want to be where the big news is -- not so I can be on TVs nationwide, but I want to be there covering the hurricane in New Orleans and reporting things as they happen. I thrive on that and I like that challenge," Alcorn said.

Ultimately, Alcorn said he'd like to work on the national level simply for his own validation.

Alcorn added: "It's not about 'The Cody Show' but more about being there and doing it."

Viewers can watch Alcorn in action every morning on the Internet through Fox Carolina's live feed at www.foxcarolina.com.

Alcorn's award-winning piece

SIKESTON -- Sikeston native and broadcast journalist Cody Alcorn won his first Emmy award during the 2010 Southeast Regional Emmy Awards presented by The Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences June 26 in Atlanta.

The awards recognized the best of the region's 2009 television production, and Alcorn won the award in the category of Outstanding Achievement Television News Gathering Excellence for his feature news report for "Nothing Left To Lose."

"My goal was to share the story of Michaela Blanton, who lost her husband, North Carolina State Trooper Shawn Blanton, and their newborn son within a four-month period," Alcorn said.

The 23-year-old at the time had to deal with losing her entire family so tragically and suddenly, Alcorn recalled.

"After being shot, Shawn was rushed to Mission Hospital where Michaela was already at because she was by their son, Tye's bedside, who was born seven weeks premature. Shawn died on the E.R. table inside the same hospital where his son would ultimately die four months later," Alcorn said.

Alcorn had met Michaela Blanton in the weeks following her husband's and son's deaths and told her when she was ready to talk, he'd like to share her story with viewers. A mutual friend also helped Alcorn set up the interview, which took place in Cherokee, N.C., in the same spot the couple had exchanged wedding vows.

"Shawn was killed just two months before their one-year anniversary. "As I said in the story, Michaela's not the first wife to lose her husband or the first mom to lose her son, but the story is about showing how fragile life really is. I don't think people realize how much we take each day for granted.

Alcorn continued: "Michaela is an incredible woman and it was a privilege to be able to share her story. If it changed just one person's perspective on life then I accomplished my goal."

Alcorn is the co-anchor of The Morning News and a reporter for WHNS FOX Carolina in Greenville, S.C.

To view the first part of the Alcorn's series at http://www.foxcarolina.com/video/1944967....