CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Amanda Barren is leaving one dream job for another later this month.The WSAZ-TV anchor/reporter is moving to her hometown, Cleveland, to be a multimedia journalist at WKYC-TV, an NBC affiliate. Her last day at WSAZ will be June 25."I went to Ohio University and watched WSAZ the whole time I was there," Barren said. "I used to watch Penny Moss and Tim Irr when I was in college and just knew it was a good station and a good place to be."After college, Barren took a job at WTAP in Parkersburg before moving to Erie, Pa., where she covered the crime and courts beat before becoming the anchor of "Good Morning Erie" for two years.
But when the opportunity to work with the people she so admired in college came up, Barren jumped at the chance to make the move to Charleston in 2006."The value of good storytelling - that's what WSAZ taught me," she said. "They tell great stories there, and I just hope I did the same for people."Barren said she simply couldn't pass up the chance to work in her hometown."WKYC is the station I grew up watching," she said. "It's kind of the same thing I had with WSAZ and wanting to be there. My family used to watch it and it was always on in the background. I feel the same way about it that I do with WSAZ. I always wanted to work there. Cleveland was next on my list, so I'm so excited. There are so many talented people there."Barren's job in Cleveland will be slightly different from her duties at WSAZ. She said her new title of multimedia journalist means she will be shooting all of her own video in addition to reporting."No more bringing a photographer along with me," Barren said with a laugh.What Barren will be bringing back with her to her hometown are the memories of her time in West Virginia and its people."I'll always remember the kindness and generosity of the people in West Virginia," she said. "I've been blown away. You don't get it until you have lived here."She pointed to the April explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County that killed 29 miners.She covered the disaster, and said it showed her just how nice and generous the people of West Virginia could be.While journalists and media personalities from around the world worked around the clock, many locals took the time to bring drink and food to the reporters.
"Never in four years here did I eat like that," Barren said.Contact writer Tom Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4886.