The Creatives: Jordan Whittington, WBRZ
Considering she grew up in a large, Cajun-blooded family, Jordan Whittington was relatively tardy last fall in her first attempt at concocting a homemade chicken and sausage gumbo. After her mother rattled off all of the ingredients, the LSU alum and budding TV news personality asked for the actual family recipe.
“She said, ‘There isn’t one,’” Whittington recalls. “‘You use a little bit of this, a little of that, and just work on it ’til it tastes good.’”
A month into writing and editing stories for WBRZ’s website, Twitter and Facebook pages as a digital media producer, the passionate writer with a degree in English literature and film & media was aggressively pursuing a journalism career without a map when the station’s news director approached her about giving traffic reports live on air during two shows a day, five days a week.
Whittington never planned on being in front of the camera and hadn’t even considered broadcasting until she was job hunting after graduation. After being promised she could retain her writing and social media duties, she agreed to join the on-air anchors and deliver traffic updates from the occasional warzone that is the Baton Rouge street grid.
“I like it because it’s pushed me so far out of my comfort zone,” says the Baton Rouge native who once dropped out of a college class when she learned it required public speaking. She still gets jitters before every show, but just takes it as a sign that she cares.
On weekends she unplugs completely. The notifications on her phone are turned off, so is the news, and she dives deep into a Netflix series or a good novel. “Chick-lit probably, something easy to read.” That time to recharge is just as important to her as the quiet moments in an often loud newsroom when she’s most creative, connects with her sources and finds the best stories.
There’s a real vulnerability to being on live TV everyday, but Whittington embraces that challenge in the same way she pursues her rather unexpected career—in her own open-minded way, much like the creation of a good gumbo.
“Follow your instincts,” Whittington says she advises other young professionals. “Always be receptive to opportunities and your own ideas. Go down the path.”