One morning a little less than a year ago, Caroline Patrickis, digital reporter for WJLA Washington, was scrolling through Reddit looking for stories to pitch to station management. According to TVNewsCheck, she discovered a post “about an immigrant-owned, Pakistani restaurant located a few blocks from the White House that provides free meals to homeless people.

““I pitched it, but no one seemed to care in the meeting,” Patrickis says. “I was like: ‘This is huge. How do you feed homeless people every day from a fancy restaurant? There’s no way.’ ”

“Fortunately, she’d been given a fairly robust amount of autonomy at the station. So, ignoring the indifference on the part of her colleagues, Patrickis plowed ahead with the project.

“The result was an incredibly moving piece that ran under two-and-a-half minutes, packed with inspiring sound bites and powerful images.

“During one stretch of the video, with a stirring piano soundtrack, a homeless man walks to the counter at the restaurant and asks for food. Captions explain the man had been eating there twice a day for four years. In an interview clip, the owner describes some of the homeless as regulars, and says that he, too, had stretches in his life where he didn’t know if he’d be able to eat one day to the next. The owner is then shown doling out a mound of food to his homeless guest.

““No questions asked!” one caption reads. “The owner knows their orders by heart,” says another.”

WJLA says the story reached more than 50 million people on Facebook. It was shared on Twitter by the likes of Meghan McCain, Mindy Kaling, Mark Hamill and Cory Booker.

For her tenacity and a deeply thoughtful approach to social media content, Caroline Patrickis was chosen as the TVNewsCheck Social Media Excellence Award winner for media talent in 2019.

More here.

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