Friends and Family Remember Slain Journalists As "Loved"

Published On 08/26/2015 Published On 08/26/2015

Alison Parker and Adam Ward were shot and killed during a live WDBJ7 news broadcast early on Wednesday morning in rural Moneta, Virginia. Now, their friends, colleagues, and other loved ones are remembering the young journalists as well-liked and hardworking.

In the hours after the shooting, WDBJ7 General Manager Jeff Marks said the station’s entire staff was “in shock” and took several moments on air to remember Parker and Ward.

“All there is in our building today is hugging and crying and consoling,” Marks said. “Many members of our staff were very close to Alison and Adam, and everybody knew them. They were loved, they were positive people, they never shied away from an assignment. If you asked them to work late, they did it -- you didn’t even have to ask them.”

Both Parker and Ward were in the midst of exciting new chapters in their lives. Parker had just celebrated her 24th birthday and had recently moved in with her boyfriend of nine months and WDBJ7 anchor, Chris Hurst.

Ward was engaged to Melissa Ott, who according to CNN's Brian Stelter, is a producer at the news channel and witnessed the shooting unfold on live TV from the control room.

Alison Parker

Parker worked as a morning reporter at WDBJ7 Roanoke, VA for almost a year and half. Previously, she served as the Jacksonville Bureau Chief at WCTI TV 12 in Jacksonville, N.C., and interned at WDBJ in the summer of 2012, according to her LinkedIn profile

Parker grew up in Martinsville, VA and went to Patrick Henry Community College and James Madison University, according a report by WDBJ7.

Following news of the shooting, Hurst gushed about Parker on social media, revealing that they had wanted to get married:


We didn't share this publicly, but Alison Parker and I were very much in love. We just moved in together. I am numb. We...

Parker was remembered by colleagues as "smart and ambitious" in a WDBJ7 story honoring her life and Ward's. Her last story for the station detailed a fundraising effort benefiting animal research. 

Just last month, WDBJ7 shared a video in which Parker shared seven fun facts about herself. 

Adam Ward

Adam Ward joined WDBJ7 four years ago in the station's production department and later became a photographer in the news department.

He grew up in nearby Salem, VA and graduated from Virginia Tech in 2011 with a degree in Communication and Media Studies, according to his profile on LinkedIn.

"Adam was the camera through which you viewers saw much of what we did, and certainly if it was on the morning news and out live, you saw Adam’s work," said Marks, the station's general manager.

Ward and Melissa Ott, a morning producer at WDBJ7, were engaged and had planned to marry sometime next summer, according to a report by BuzzFeed News. 

Ott was set to start a new job in Charlotte, and Ward had planned on moving in with her, according to the report.

Ward's colleagues at the news station described him as, "a capable photographer who would go the extra mile to get the job done."

Parker's and Ward's WDBJ7 colleagues continued to share memories and kind words from their time working together throughout the day.

"There was just nobody better to work with than those two individuals," Marks said.

Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.



Learn More