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2012

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Living the dream

News anchor keeps Richmonders in the know
By Darcie Roberge ('06)

Photo of Julie Bragg Sheppard
Julie Bragg Sheppard ('94)

Julie Bragg Sheppard ('94) is living her dream of being a local news anchor at CBS affiliate WTVR-6 in Richmond, Va. "When I was a teenager, I dreamed of doing exactly what I'm doing right now," says Bragg.

A "light bulb" moment

Her inspiration to pursue broadcast journalism came from a "light bulb" moment she had when she walked into the studios of CBS 6 at age 15. She entered the studios of WTVR and immediately knew that she wanted to be a broadcast journalist. "I thought, 'I could do this. This would be a different and interesting job,'" says Bragg.

Bragg started working for WTVR in October 2005. Her favorite memory with WTVR is her first newscast at 5 a.m. on Oct. 17, 2005.

Hectic and demanding schedule

The life of a broadcast journalist is very hectic, especially if it involves reporting the morning news. "After eight months on this schedule, I'm still trying to adjust," she says. Her day starts at 3:30 a.m. when she arrives at the studio. A long day follows during which Bragg and her co-anchor, Greg McQuade, give the morning news report, record live updates and go out into the field to report local stories. Despite the long and unusual hours, Bragg loves her job. "I feel so lucky working with great people at such a wonderful station in my hometown and being so close to my family," says Bragg.

"I thought, 'I could do this. This would be a different and interesting job.'"

Her job may sound glamorous, but it isn't always easy. According to Bragg, the hardest part of her job is staying cool under pressure. "Things can change in an instant," she explains. "You could have spent six hours of your day working on a story and then be told that something major has changed. You'd have to fix the story with the remaining time in your day."

Madison memories

Bragg graduated from JMU with a bachelor's in mass communication and a minor in political science. Her favorite JMU memories involve moving into her residence hall or apartment to start a new year. "That moment was full of so much excitement and anticipation," says Bragg. "I knew I was about to begin another fantastic year."

"To me, JMU is the perfect size school. You can walk into an activity and see new faces and familiar faces at the same time."

Her favorite D-hall memory was "frost your own cupcake" night. "You would go to the dessert section of D-hall and they had tons of naked cupcakes sitting out. They had every kind of icing imaginable, including an amazing peanut butter icing," says Bragg.

During her time at JMU, Bragg could usually be found hanging out on the hill by The Commons. Bragg loved everything about JMU. "To me, JMU is the perfect size school. You can walk into an activity and see new faces and familiar faces at the same time."

Bragg is very proud of her JMU education. In fact, her ties to Madison helped land her first job. "Marilou Johnson, one of my professors, called me about a job as a news director at a local station in Martinsville. That was my first job," says Bragg.