Special Report: Like Father, Like Daughter
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – “We’re working now together three days a week” Jerry Hayes said. His daughter and now co-worker added “that is plenty.”
It’s a sense of humor that spans two generations. Megan Hayes is 22 years old and learning the WHNT ropes in her first job out of college. She joined the WHNT NEWS 19 team in May as a weekday producer and reporter for our weekend morning newscast.
“My stomach was in knots,” Jerry said. “I was afraid she might take off and go to a smaller market. Or she was questioning ‘do I really want to work in the same newsroom as Dad’.”
But to get the overhead views, let’s back up a couple of decades. It seems to be destiny that a Hayes daughter would work in the WHNT NEWS 19 newsroom. Sitting together in the studio, Megan reminded Jerry of when he found out she was on the way.
“You were notified of my arrival in this studio,” Megan said. ”My mom told my dad that she was pregnant with me in this studio on-air.”
Jerry remembered the moment clearly.
“We were doing a cooking segment that day. Her mom was on the air doing the noon news cast and we were doing a segment,” Jerry recalled. “And she said, by the way, you are going to be a dad again. And I said really. Boy or girl? She laughed and said, well, we don’t know yet.”
For Megan Hayes, the news business was in her DNA.
“When I got to college I knew I wanted to write online, a blog and then I started playing with video, especially when it came to my senior year in high school. I started making video projects, starting documenting stuff for school.”
Megan looked to the dean of Huntsville anchors for advice. That would be her Dad, Jerry. And she does call him “Jerry” in the newsroom as opposed to “Dad.”
“I told her Megan, you know, it’s a tough business. And you have to be kind of tough on the inside too, mentally and physically to last in TV news for any length of time. That didn’t seem to faze her.”
For Jerry, who is going on 34 years in the WHNT newsroom, having a daughter work beside him in the newsroom is a dream.
“What better compliment to a parent than a kid going ‘I want to do what mom or dad does for a living. That is the ultimate compliment right there. “
Jerry looks forward to watching Megan’s career unfold. He hopes she hits it big, so she (insert sly smile here) so she can take care of him.
“I could handle her being on the CBS Evening News,” Jerry said.
“You and me both! I will build you a garage apartment to live in.”
“At your house?”
Megan quickly added “At my sister’s house.”
She will tease Jerry just as much as anyone else in the newsroom. But she knows it’s a special time and one she will cherish forever.
“I am very blessed. I will look back in the future and say that I`m glad that I worked with my dad. Not a lot of people can say that.”
Back to Megan being 22. There are many single guys in the city. There are single guys at work, too.
Jerry is not only a vigilant journalist. He’s a vigilant Dad!
“I guarantee you I`m watching these guys in the newsroom,” he said with a smile.
Read more about Megan and Jerry’s experiences here: