Shawn Wayson is one of those people every organization needs. She knows how to get things done. If you need to find a needle in a haystack, she can do it. If you drop a mess in her lap, she can fix it. If a younger, less experienced colleague needs advice about a better way to do things, she can share her wisdom. And she does it all under the constant and intense deadline pressures which go hand-in-hand with the television news business. In recognition of her nearly 40 years of professional excellence, WSYR TV Newschannel 9's Chief Video Editor has been named to the Syracuse Press Club's Wall of Distinction. "I'm going to be up there with a lot of people I've worked with, a lot of people I respect, and a lot of people I've learned from. I'm so honored."
Wayson is a Syracuse native who earned her high school diploma at Nottingham before coming to Onondaga Community College. She chose OCC after making a visit to campus at the urging of her father who spent his professional life in local broadcasting. Alan Milair was Program Manager for WSYR Radio and also worked on-air at WSYR TV. "My dad knew the head of the Radio & TV department and thought I should go see the campus. I remember it being really pretty and clean and airy. I really felt welcome but I didn't know what I wanted to study. The guidance office really helped me."
When she started taking classes at OCC in 1977, Wayson was a full-time student in the Humanities degree program and was working three jobs. If she wasn't on campus, she was at work. "I didn't have a lot of time to spend getting to know people."
During her second year she started doing a radio show on the campus station with her brother. The broadcasting bug began to bite her. She would earn her Humanities degree in 1979, then stay at OCC for one more year and earn a Radio & TV degree in 1980. "Everyone on campus was just so helpful. There was a lot of guidance which was needed then and is still needed today."
Wayson would transfer from OCC to SUNY Fredonia where, in her final semester, she did an internship at WSTM TV (Channel 3) in Syracuse. Her mentor was a photographer named Frank Rossi who today is on the Syracuse Press Club's Wall of Distinction. He had Wayson take a video editing test which she passed with flying colors. "He told me I 'had an eye' for video editing." That 'eye' resulted in her being offered a full-time position prior to graduation.
She would work at Channel 3 for 14 years, then jump to Channel 9 in 1996 where she has been the Chief Video Editor for 25 years. Throughout her professional career she's served as a member of OCC's Broadcast Media Communications Advisory Board where she regularly reinforces the need for veteran colleagues to pay it forward and help those who will follow them. "Guidance is really needed continuously to help students and young professionals know what they are doing and where they are going. It's so important now for the media and journalism specifically. We have an important job and we need to stay focused so people can be informed accurately."
In September she'll be recognized for her life's work and wisdom shared when her name is added to the Syracuse Press Club's Wall of Distinction. "Those people who have been honored in the past... I will be in great company. I hope I've helped others do their jobs better and will continue to do so."