By Sherlene M. Shanklin
When I was contacted by Today’s Woman Magazine I had mixed emotions. – shocked to even be nominated even though no one knows anything about me.
People have no idea that I’ve worked in the media for almost 27 years.
When teachers told my graduating class that we would likely have to start at a smaller market to get your experience and then work your way back to your hometown. I beat those odds and jumped straight to my hometown of Louisville. I was hired part-time as an associate director. Working crazy hours, weekends and holidays. All while I worked in a new healthcare division full time and attending graduate school obtaining two master’s degrees.
I’ve worked in just about every position behind the scenes. Receiving several award nominations for floor directing and my camera work for some of the biggest news events in Louisville. I had the opportunity to first produce/coordinate the very first forum where community leaders said some 20 years ago that Louisville was ready for a professional team. Many of the same believers in that idea are still believing in the vision today and its moving in the right direction. I believe there will be a farm team that’s affiliated with an NBA team who will make Louisville their home first. Those players, when developed, will be called up to team.
After proving I could produce I went from production to the newsroom where I had the opportunity to write and produce some of the biggest stories of our lifetime like 9-11. Then I was recruited away in 2003 to WHAS11. I started off as a producer but later moved to the assignment desk.
I had an opportunity to start one of the first webcasts in the area about entertainment and community news that you did not see on the air. I took the challenge upon myself to help promote people and events. My original concept was to find national figures throughout the world that had Kentucky ties. That helped me create that niche in the market and The411 with Sherlene Shanklin was born.
In 2018, the Society of Professional Journalists announced my story about the NBA as their Best Sports Writing piece of the Year. I also won Best Use of Social Media for Louisville’s own Bryson Tiller announcing his national tour and pop-up concert series. In 2017, I was nominated for an Emmy Award for the coverage of Muhammad Ali’s memorial coverage.
After, first using web-based and social media platforms to promote my stories. I had the opportunity to go on air. There was only a few stories out there at the time but now the table has turned and dozens of stories are developed with the emphasis on “did you know that person is from Kentucky?”
Now, you can watch The411 on Thursdays at 12:50 p.m., Fridays at 4:20 p.m. and Saturday mornings during Good Morning Kentuckiana Weekend.
Can you believe it all started from an idea and now it has flourished into its own standalone brand. My primary job at WHAS11, an ABC Affiliate is the assignment desk. In a nutshell I’m reading and/or listening to all of the story ideas, news tips and helping develop the story.
Even if the story doesn’t make air I still try and assist as many people as I can with their problems.
So, no I’m not new to the area. Some people consider me as the go-to in the community when they need assistance. Even if I can’t assist, I try to lead then in the right direction to get assistance. Once I think we can do the story. I consult with the reporter I believe has the sources and passion to get the story done.
While working around the clock in the media. It gave me other opportunities to help people. Once the demand was so real I started VIPP Communications. It’s a one-stop public relations, branding, marketing, special events and video production firm.
Then The VIPP Report was created so I could have a platform to talk about clients. Then through supply and demand everyone wanted to know where I purchased my jewelry, so I created VIPP Style an online accessory store.
So, to be nominated as “Most Admired” by the magazine is simply humbling. I’ve worked so hard for so long that I didn’t think anyone was noticing. I’ve chosen not one but multiple fields that are highly competitive. When no one wanted to help me, I created and developed what others would not give me a chance to do. To now receiving calls for assistance simply brings me to tears. This was not an overnight, an instant potato career. I’ve been moving mountains my entire adulthood and making ways out of no way.
I still have a lot more to accomplish because I’m never satisfied but to know others are watching and acknowledging that I’m on their radar lets me know that a real breakthrough is just around the corner. This is a little bit about me and what I do. I will be sharing more in the future about my journey, who I work with and why I refuse to lose.
If you have time between now and March 22nd at noon, please vote for me in the #media category for Today’s Woman Most Admired for WHAS11 Television.