Ashley Cullinane covered a variety of stories as a student journalist, but being at the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings will remain locked forever in her memory.
“I will never forget everyone – the police, the runners, people in the community –working together for a common goal,” said Cullinane, who was on the scene with three other students from her Suffolk U News course. “Some of the runners who had just completed the marathon were even carrying the injured over to MGH. It was something so tragic, and it hit so close to home. It was the hardest thing to see play out.”
Cullinane interviewed runners and spectators for hours and captured dramatic footage near the Boylston Street finish line. Working late into the night, the student news team put together a report that was broadcast internationally, on a Boston cable station, and online.
“For me, that was a big test,” says Cullinane. “Just knowing that I was able to contribute a little bit by clarifying what was happening and informing viewers was rewarding. Being put in that situation helped me to realize why I wanted to be a working journalist.”
On general assignment in El Paso
Today the 2015 Suffolk University alumna is achieving her goal by working as a general assignment reporter for KDBC-TV (Channel 4), a CBS affiliate in El Paso, Texas.
Cullinane has covered a high-profile murder trial, a story on changes in the Texas-Mexico Border Patrol force, and a segment on the growing popularity of homeschooling.
“I love hard news,” she says. “Coming from Boston, that’s what I’m used to.”
Internships and campus news experience
While in college, the Braintree, Mass., native worked as an anchor, producer, and reporter for Suffolk U News, a student-run online news show that allows aspiring journalists to practice various aspects of the trade. She also worked and volunteered at Suffolk’s Studio 73, where students participate in the Suffolk in the City program that has them reporting live on NECN twice a week.
Cullinane’s student experience also included stints as an intern and writer at WHDH-TV (Channel 7), located steps from the Suffolk campus. This gave her a chance to cover some big stories, such as the Boston Marathon bombings trial and sentencing and the New England Patriots’ 2015 Super Bowl victory.
Tough but rewarding work
Cullinane circulated her reporting reel among many stations nationwide and is happy that she landed in El Paso, where she learns more about the television news industry every day and finds that her toughest assignments are usually the most rewarding.
“Talking to a family who just experienced a significant loss feels terrible, but to be able to let them know I’m there as a person willing to listen is important,” she says. “I love what I do, and I want to keep learning and working hard to provide information to the public and tell their stories.”