Meet Becky Parker

By McKenzie Schwark
Features Writer
Becky Parker Headshot

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I grew up in Williston, North Dakota. I moved to Fargo to go to NDSU and got my broadcasting degree there. Then I moved to Brainerd, Minnesota, for a few years and worked at the PBS station there. I came back to Fargo to WDAY and have been here ever since. I have a husband, two kids, and a third on the way!

How did you wind up at WDAY?

An instructor at my college knew the news director in Brainerd. I was fortunate to be connected and get that job because it was pretty competitive to get a TV job at the time. I got some experience and then I sent resumes to stations in Fargo even though they weren’t hiring. I wanted to make sure they had my work and knew I was here and available. Eventually when WDAY was hiring I sent in a second resume and got the call. I was so excited. I just wanted to be back in Fargo.

Did you always know you wanted to get into broadcasting?

I decided my senior year of high school. I was set on going to NDSU, I just hadn’t chosen a major. I had an English teacher in high school who also taught our journalism class who suggested I would be good at it. I considered it for a while, and then decided I could always change my major later on. But I obviously never did change. It ended up being a good fit.

What does your day-to-day look like as an anchor and producer?

For most of my day I focus on producing, which means choosing stories that will go in the newscast. Writing them, deciding what order they’ll go in, adding the details. I spend most of my day creating the newscast. It’s nice being able to build something every day, and to be done at the end of the day, and get to start fresh every day. You can’t really prepare for the day when things come up. I anchor at 4:00 and 5:00, and that’s the fun part, and that’s what I get to finish my day on.

What do you find challenging about your job?

On the one hand, it’s nice to be done with things at the end of the day, but that also means deadlines are strict. All your work has to be done by 3:30 or 4:30 depending on the newscast. It has to be on the air on time, regardless of what’s going on. You’re held to that timeline.

As a female anchor and in this field, do you feel a pressure to present a certain image or have a certain demeanor when you interact with the public?

You know, what’s funny is that in my daily life I’m not really thinking about it. It kind of hits you unexpectedly. For example, I went to a different church than I normally do on Easter this year. People there were coming up and saying, “Hey! We watch you on TV!” And it was this moment like, “Oh, that’s right!” It catches me off guard. I don’t really expect it. It feels like I’m in a room by myself talking to the camera, and then sometimes you do have that realization. Like, if I’m at the grocery store sometimes I’ll feel like I hope people think I’m a nice person.

I’m sure it’s tough that you’re not actually talking to these people, but you’re also in their homes every day.

Yeah, and you know there are people watching because they’ll tell you. You know that’s happening, it’s just different when you’re actually meeting them as opposed to being in the studio.

Do you think that pressure is internal or external?

For me, it comes from inside. The vast majority of interactions I have on social media or in person have been positive. I haven’t gotten much criticism from people, which would probably change my answer. For me, it’s not a burden. I don’t feel like people are looking at me and thinking I’m not doing things right since most of my interactions have been so positive. I have a tendency to want people to like me, and so I think any of that would come from within me than from outside or from the public.

How is WDAY a supportive environment for female employees?

We have a lot of accomplished and smart women who work here. I think we do a good job of boosting each other up and supporting each other. That’s the main thing, is just working with good people who make sure we lift each other up. I think there is a perception that things would get competitive in this field, but I haven’t seen that here – it’s just a supportive environment.

What advice do you have for young women who want to get into broadcasting?

I would say really think about what your goals are and why you’re doing it. If you’re doing it for some kind of outside validation, it’s not going to go so well. It can be a tough job, but if you enjoy the work and are in it for the right reasons that makes it worth it.

What do you think women need right now?

I would say, advocating for yourself. Especially talking in the context of the workplace. You have to advocate for your goals and needs and wants. That is something I’ve struggled with. I’m a people pleaser, and it’s easy to fall into that at work as well. Make sure you’re honoring your own needs and desires.