Story by Kelli Gile
Fox 11 News (KTTV) veteran anchor Christine Devine slipped away from her news desk to chat with students at Diamond Bar High School on January 8.
About 150 teens from the Pathways Communications Academy gathered in the theater offered an enthusiastic welcome as the television reporter took the stage.
Right off the bat, Devine asked students for something unusual - another round of applause.
“That wasn’t for me, it’s for you guys! Because you’re here today in school, doing your job as students,” she said.
“Recognize that you are building the steps to be whatever you’re going to be one day.”
Devine told the group that life is much harder without an education.
“You want to finish this job and get your degree,” she advised.
Devine spoke about her arrival at the Los Angeles station 25 years ago, a typical day in the life of a reporter, and of the “good and bad” in the changing news industry.
When she inquired if students watched the 10 p.m. broadcast, only a few raised their hands.
People are getting the news all day long on their cell phones, Devine said.
“That’s the biggest challenge in our industry - to get you all to watch it and to still be relevant. We’re doing a lot more in social networking and branding.”
Devine’s typical day includes a staff meeting, writing stories, reading scripts, proofing, and fact checking before going on air for the 10 p.m. broadcast.
The news business has unusual hours, with no holidays or weekends off, she explained.
“My treat is taking Christmas off,” she said. “But I worked New Year’s Eve.”
“On every job, you’re going to have stuff you don’t like,” she added.
Devine admitted that she also doesn’t “love” all the violence covered on local news.
She’s found a balance by focusing on the positive, which includes her “Wednesday’s Child” segment that has helped foster kids get adopted for the past 20 years.
“My motto is being a cheerleader for children and youth,” she proudly said.
Devine encouraged the students to begin thinking about things that interest them for their own careers.
“There’s a saying you can be whatever you want to be - I’ll never say that,” she said.
She offered the example that a female could never play on the Los Angeles Lakers.
“But you can work with the Lakers,” said Devine, who has interviewed NBA stars Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
She even has one of Shaq’s enormous size 22 shoes on display in her home.
“So, I’m not a Laker, but I’m hanging with the Lakers!” she added.
Devine has walked through the doors that opened throughout her career.
Her message to students: “If you don’t get the things you want, see what other opportunities are happening for you around that.”
Devine currently mentors DBHS sophomore Priscilla Gomez, who launched Full Broadcast Entertainment with interviews, photos, and behind the scene videos last summer.
Gomez reached out for advice after an introduction at a Los Angeles event.
Now, the pair often communicates via text and phone calls.
“She’s always really helpful and supportive,” said Gomez, who joined the news anchor on stage during the Q & A session.
“It was very inspirational,” commented senior Darian Johnson while waiting in line to speak with Devine after the assembly.
“I feel that journalism is a possible career path along with helping at-risk youth and foster kids. I really take it to heart,” he said.
“It was an incredible opportunity to have Devine speak with our Pathways students. We wanted to provide them with the exclusive opportunity to meet a professional from the field,” said English teacher Whitney Prenger.
“She went above and beyond, answering questions, taking selfies, and allowing the students to have access to interact with her on and off camera. It was a great day for our program."