Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins steps into our "Get to Know Team 3" Spotlight. Recently, we had the chance to spend a few quality moments with Monica to find out more about both her reporting life and things she likes to do outside of work. We have worked with Monica since she came to WKYC and you'll find she has quite a few interests that you might not know about.
Question: You have worked as a videographer, editor, producer, news anchor, health anchor and investigative reporter during more than 20 years as a broadcast professional. Have you found being so flexible has benefited your career? And, do you recommend that others in the business have multiple skills in this new age of television?
Monica: Absolutely. I truly believe it's the only way to survive in this ever changing business. No one should think they're too old to learn something new. I also think in these unsure days, flexibility = job security.
Question: You worked in Columbus as an investigative reporter before coming to Cleveland and tackling health matters as your main beat. When doing the investigative work, what were the most appalling stories you uncovered?
Monica: Sadly there were quite a few. Phil Hayes and I worked on a story in which we discovered the Columbus Police Department hired admitted felons onto the force in order to fill a campaign promise the mayor had made at the time.
The stories we did helped to change the hiring practices of the department.
I also spent a year getting gang members to trust me enough to show me their world. I did a three part series on Gangs in Columbus at a time when city officials refused to accept the existence of street gangs. I met nine-year-old murderers in jail and their older counterparts on the streets. The series I did was then used by various Sheriff's departments to educate communities and parents about gangs and how to keep their kids out of them.
Question: As a health reporter, what issue has been the most amazing to you that you've reported on?
Monica: I'm so lucky to work in Northeast Ohio because there are amazing medical advances taking place every day. I would have to say the bioengineering stories are probably the most fascinating. I was stunned to learn that the skin from circumcised infants could be used to make tissue the size of a football field. That skin is then being used to treat open wounds on diabetics and burn patients.
That's just one of hundreds of amazing stories. Every day there's something new. I find however, that it''s the practical information that gets the biggest response. I did a story on odd heart attack symptoms and a year later received a call from a man inside the Cardiac ICU at a local hospital who said he remembered the story and called 911 because his symptoms were odd. He called me after having quadruple bypass surgery to say thanks.
Question: You do a lot of work for the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure" each fall. Why do you feel such a personal connection to the fight against breast cancer and helping survivors of this horrible disease?
Monica: I'm a woman and I'm at risk just like one out of every eight women. Chances are almost all of us know someone affected by Breast Cancer. My Grandmother and Aunt both battled the disease. And since I've worked with the Race and 3Day, I've met hundreds of women and men who inspire me to what I can to help find a cure.
Question: Can you tell us one thing you'd still like to do as a journalist?
Monica: Retire wealthy and write a few books.
Question: Growing up in Pittsburgh and now living in Cleveland , you must feel a split loyalty between the Browns and Steelers. Which team do you tend to support more?
Monica: If a Browns fan moved to Pittsburgh would they stop supporting the Browns? I want nothing more than the Browns to do well because the rivalry needs to get back on a level playing field. At least both teams hate the Ravens.
Question: Many people have heard you sing the National Anthem at various sporting events, but they may not know you are the lead singer of the BFD Band. Tell us about the band and who have you gotten to open for.
Monica: BFD is now known as Monica Robins and the Whiskey Kings. We're comprised of videographers from TV 3 and Fox 8 and a few others who don't work in TV news. Over the years we've had some great opportunities. We've opened for Hall and Oates, Donnie Iris, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Eddie Money, South Side Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Temptations and some others. We started out as a Blues Band but morphed into a down and dirty Cleveland Rock Band. We're comfortable playing anywhere from Biker Bars to the Shoreby Club.
Question: Tell us about your favorite "hangout" – and why it is your favorite.
Monica: I'd have to say the MetroPark Hiking trails. No matter the season, I enjoy taking my dog for walks along those trails and hanging out with the real "wild" crowd.
Question: Any special plans for St. Patrick's Day - anything that's become tradition for you each year?
Monica: The only St. Patrick's Day tradition for me is that I'm usually working.
Question: You are also an avid Harley rider. Where do you find is the best place to ride and why?
Monica: The MetroParks and the back country roads in Ohio are my favorite. You never know what you're going to see next.
Labels: get to know team 3, monica robins, monica robins wkyc