Know your INBA board members: Emily Manley
Several new people were elected to the INBA board during our fall convention. Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to them. Up first: Emily Manley, Missouri Chief Capitol Bureau Reporter for Nexstar Media Group.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, broadcasting, Western Illinois University; master’s degree, Public Affairs Reporting, University of Illinois Springfield.
Previous jobs: During college, I was a student reporter at Tri States Public Radio in Macomb. Following graduation from WIU, I accepted a producer and assignment desk editor position at KMOV, the CBS affiliate in St. Louis, where I worked during grad school (traveling daily back and forth between Springfield and St. Louis). After I finished grad school, I worked at KMOV through August 2018 before I headed to southern Illinois to work at WSIL News 3, where I was a nightside reporter and filled in on the anchor desk. One year later, I had an offer I couldn’t resist at my alma mater, WIU. I became the reporting and producing teacher, overseeing NEWS3, the student-run television newscasts. Weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic started, I was contacted by a producer at KTVI (Fox 2) in St. Louis with whom I previously worked with at KMOV. He told me the station’s parent company was starting a capitol bureau position in Missouri and asked if he could give my name to his news director, who called me the next day to set up an interview. I finished the school year at WIU, and then on June 1, 2020, I started my current job in Jefferson City as the Missouri Capitol Bureau Chief for eight television stations.
Favorite thing about my job: Because I work for multiple stations all across Missouri – some in rural areas, and others in Kansas City and St. Louis – I have to make sure my story is newsworthy and interesting to all viewers. I have to look at the big picture when it comes to the stories I cover and make sure viewers understand what I’m talking about. As most of you know, politics can be confusing. It’s my job to break it down and know how Missourians are going to be affected.
Important stories I’ve recently worked on: I’m headed into my “busy season.” Missouri lawmakers are headed back to Jefferson City in January, and it will be full steam ahead until the middle of May. While I won’t be home for dinner many nights over the next five months, to me, it’s an important time to be a political journalist in this state. Missourians tune in daily, and while they are going to work and/or running their kids from school to activities, it’s my job to inform them about what’s going on in their State Capitol and what could change. Lately, I’ve focused a lot on education. Missouri has one of the lowest minimum teacher salaries in the country. The state’s education department says roughly 8,000 teachers make less than $35,000 per year. Under state statute, minimum teacher pay is $25,000, about $9,000 below the state’s average living wage. Nearly 150 school districts have moved to four-day weeks, because it’s the only recruitment tool districts say they have to keep teachers in the classroom. This is happening while the state has a surplus of roughly $6 billion. Republicans and Democrats say something has to be done, but we will see if actions speak louder than words.
Favorite activities outside of work: I love working in my yard, gardening and hiking the awesome trails and state parks in Missouri. My husband and I will spend weekends traveling throughout the state (bringing our dog with, of course) to hike and then finding a local brewery. We also are big sports fans; you can always catch us listening to or watching the Cardinals, Blues (my husband is sadly a Blackhawks fan…), Packers and college football and basketball.
Why I’m a member of INBA: I joined INBA in college, so I was a SINBA (Students of Illinois News Broadcasters Association) member. It was one of the best decisions I made for my career because of the people I met, the networking and the opportunities, scholarships and awards it gave me. When I went back to WIU, I was constantly telling my students to join INBA and take full advantage of the professionals within the organization. Once I moved to Missouri, I was concerned I was going to have to drop my membership, but because my home station is KTVI in St. Louis, I made the cut. I hope members understand what is possible through INBA and take full advantage of their opportunities. And to the professionals – thank you for all you do to help make this such a great organization.