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WAVY reporter got her start at TCC

Lauren ComptonWAVY-TV reporter Lauren Compton came to Tidewater Community College to become a child psychologist.

Then she took her first public speaking class.

“I found out that I enjoyed writing and speaking in front of people. In fact, I loved it,” she said. “And my professor took note and asked if I had ever considered a career in broadcast journalism. She took an interest in me, and that opened up a whole new world of possibilities.”

Compton moved often with her Navy family, but says she came home when they landed in Hampton Roads. “I’m so thankful to be living and working here,” she said. “My teen years were spent watching WAVY-TV, so now to be part of the news team is amazing.”

An average student at Tallwood High, Compton excelled at TCC, taking general education courses and two years later transferring to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to study broadcast journalism. “TCC was a good fit for me because I didn’t get serious about school until I was a junior in high school,” she said.

While at TCC, Compton joined study groups and learned how to be a college student. “I enjoyed the diversity of the student body and how serious people were about their classes. I remember one study group in particular, led by a 40-something woman who would bake for us and lead some really great discussions.”

Compton says TCC gave her the chance to have the best of both worlds. “I was able to stay with my family, while developing necessary skills like time management and test taking,” she said. “I learned to think of college as my job, so when I got to VCU, I was prepared for the work and able to handle any distraction to learning. I actually graduated Summa Cum Laude.”

Compton’s time at TCC included a study abroad trip to Costa Rica with horticulture professor Ken Spencer and Spanish professor Gabriella Toletti. “That trip was one of the best experiences of my life,” Compton said. “I’d never been out of the country before, and there are really no words to describe how fantastic it was to be immersed in a different culture.”

Research studies were also part of her time at TCC. “I took several psychology classes and was selected to be part of a team to produce a research project,” she said. “We went to Richmond to compete against other college groups, and we did quite well.”

Compton interned in the WAVY newsroom during her time at VCU. “I started working behind the scenes, handling scripts, running prompter and working on the floor. It was always my goal to come home to WAVY,” she said.

During the 2008 presidential election, Compton produced a segment for MTV called “Choose or Lose.” The experience actually launched her first reporting job at WSET in Lynchburg. “We had to shoot, write and edit our own stories with an election flavor and then send them to MTV for broadcast,” she said. “The pieces were often shared with the Associated Press, providing great exposure.”

At 29, Compton holds her dream job as a reporter at WAVY. She covers everything from crime to politics to transportation to community events. “My favorite part of the job is meeting people and giving them a voice for the stories that matter to them,” she said.

Part of her job includes representing WAVY at school events. “I speak to a lot of high school groups, and I always encourage young people to consider community college because it is a great place to start,” Compton said.

“TCC literally changed the course of my life. It is such a blessing to go to work doing something that I’m passionate about. This is not just a job for me, but my life’s purpose.”

Compton lives in Chesapeake with her dog, Goliath, a Yorkie/Chihuahua mix. She is an active member of Grove Baptist Church. “I know God has a good plan for everyone. And I know he put TCC in my life to set the course for my future.”

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