WDRB’s Valerie Chinn leads a very full life. In fact, in the fullness of her life, some might say she leads enough for two or three lives. She is the co-anchor for the 11:30 a.m newscast. She is a full-time reporter for the 4 p.m. newscast and a full-time wife and the mother of three children. Yes, Valerie Chinn is a modern day Super-Mom.
Chinn has been anchoring the news for about 14 years, and says she likes the mixture between anchoring and reporting. The mixture is reminiscent of her college days at the University of Missouri and its NBC affiliate, KOMU, where she worked part-time. After graduating from there, she went to work at Austin, Minn. for 1 1/2 years, before moving on to Duluth, Minn. for another 1 1/2 years. She left Duluth to come to Louisville in June, 2001.
When she arrived here, Chinn had little intention of staying long. Chinn saw Louisville as a stepping stone to a larger TV market.
“When I moved here, I thought, ‘I’ll just stay in Louisville for a couple of years,’” Chinn said. “And 11 years later, I am still here.”
Chinn was born on March 2, in Portland, Ore. She explained her Asian beauty this way: “My father is Chinese. My mother is Vietnamese. They met during the war. My Dad was in the U.S Army.”
Chinn went to Aloha High School in Portland and served on the school newspaper, The Warrior, for three years.
“In high school, in 10th grade, I tried journalism class and the school newspaper and loved it,” Chinn said. “And from there I was hooked.”
Chinn loves her workplace at WDRB-41 TV.
“I am happy where I am at,” Chinn said. “I love my job. What we have here is unique. That is why people stay here for such a long time. We are ‘family.’ We are ‘family-friendly,’ too.”
Chinn says the same about her adopted hometown of Louisville: “family-friendly.” She also likes Louisville for its low cost of living, its good schools and its weather (too much rain in Portland).
The only thing she would change about Louisville is she would love to see a Nordstrom rack store here.
Chinn’s days are filled with activity, that usually start at about 6 a.m.
“I have three children, ages 7, 5, and 3.” Chinn said. “The mornings are filled with getting them ready for school.” She usually runs errands and arrives at work by 9 a.m.
Then she has a news meeting till 9:30 a.m. and writes news until 11:15 a.m.
“Then I report as soon as I go off the air at noon and do a story that will air at 4 o’clock,” Chinn said.
Chinn says that there is a certain amount of pressure to write and edit stories by 4 p.m. each day, but has grown accustom to it.
Chinn says, “the work day is over at 5, if there is no breaking news (and) after that it is family time.
Then it is Boy Scouts, piano lessons and Tae Kwon Do.”
Chinn usually retires around 11 p.m. each night, but is often up until midnight.
Most people would agree, that is a very productive day.
Lindsay Allen, Chinn’s co-anchor, says she and Chinn have great rapport in addition to being good friends off-camera. Allen believes Chinn possesses a unique quality as a reporter.
“She gets people to agree to talk to her when they‘re not willing to talk to anybody else.” Allen said.
“This ability to get comfortable with people,” Allen says, allows Chinn to “get some amazing stories” that other journalists cannot get.
On the lighter side, Allen revealed that Chinn “has a weakness for chocolate, likes mayonnaise on her French fries and loves to throw a good Bunco party."
Off-camera Chinn is an adamant watcher of the other WDRB news shows, all of the CSI crime shows and "Homeland." She likes to watch movies but says she does not have a favorite.
"I end up watching all of these kid's movies, the children's, that I've seen over and over again, like 'Kung Fu Panda'," Chinn said.
As for music, Chinn likes Top 40, contemporary Christian and hip hop. She is more into magazines than books, with her favorites being on health, fitness and fashion. For dinner, Chinn favors sushi with homemade guacamole. She tops it off with mint chocolate chip ice cream or creme brulee for dessert.
One thing about Chinn that I found very frustrating in writing this profile, is perhaps one of her greatest strengths as a reporter. That is, her ability to be concise, to be brief and succinct.
When I would ask Chinn a question for this profile, I would generally expect a four to five sentence response. That is seldom what I received in response. What I usually got was a one to two terse sentence reply. For example, when I asked Chinn where she found the energy to be an anchor, a reporter, and mother and wife, too, Chinn’s response was: “I am on the go person. Drinking iced tea gives me a caffeine boost.”
Or when I asked Chinn if she was a born time-manager, or if she just learned that from the various roles she has to play, Chinn responded: “I do not consider myself a time-manager, but know what it takes to get my stories done each day to the best of my ability.”
One thing I found hard to believe was when I asked Chinn if there were any down-sides to her job, and she said there were none. I found that hard to believe. You would think that one would get a little tired of ‘living in a fish bowl’ and would occasionally want to escape the public eye. Plus, you have to wonder about meeting the daily grind of meeting the 4 p.m. story deadlines, even though Chinn told me she “had grown accustomed to them.”
Another of Chinn’s positive attributes, according to WDRB’s meteorologist, Jude Redfield, is that she is on-target.
“She is very focused, very focused and determined,” Redfield said. “She cares a lot about her news stories.”
Chinn describes herself as a “spiritual person” and says that she and her family are members of Southeast Christian Church. She says they belong to the Oldham Campus where Chinn is active, even serving as a greeter before service.
“I find Dave (Stone) and Kyle’s (Idleman) sermons meaningful and applicable . . . We are there every Sunday or Saturday night.” Chinn said.
In conclusion, Chinn does not mind being a modern day Super-Mom, she relishes it. One thing she wants her viewers to know about her is she is available to them.
“I want people to know that I’m always able to listen,” Chinn said. “I’m always accessible. They’re texting me, instant messaging me, facebooking me, tweeting me, so I have a lot of interaction with viewers all day long.”
Staying close and in touch with her viewers, helps keep Chinn on the pulse of the city and one step ahead of the competition.
“They know that if they email me, I’ll respond.”