ABC 13 Anchor and CFISD Alum Visits Student Media Members

Cypress, TX (January 29, 2016) ABC Channel 13 anchor and reporter Natasha Barrett, a 1996 graduate of Cypress Falls High School, returned to her alma mater on Jan. 20 to speak to student journalists from throughout the district during the high school press conference.

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Barrett reminisced on her teenage years while sharing experiences from her career as a journalist. Joking about racing the tardy bell each morning and explaining how her high school drill team prepared her for life. Barrett gave advice and insight to the aspiring journalists as they asked questions regarding her upbringing, schooling, and everyday life as a successful reporter.

Barrett, who stepped foot on campus for the first time since graduating 20 years ago, shared that she was an officer on the Sky Dancers drill team. She still views her first drill team instructor, retired Wilson Elementary School principal Pam Link, as one of the most influential people in her life. Barrett said the drill team taught her to hold herself to a standard of discipline, which then prepared her for her career.

“That really changed me moving forward,” she said. “You had to know what was going on at all times and to be responsible. Even though they weren’t journalism-based, even to this day I will tell a story and it comes back to that.”

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After graduating from Cypress Falls in May 1996, Barrett attended American University with a double major in broadcast journalism and computer information systems. Her location provided the opportunity to cover political stories such as the inauguration of President Barack Obama. But before being given the chance to report on one of the most important events of the year, Barrett had to work diligently in the journalism field.

Through multiple internships and covering any news stories she could, Barrett was able to land a job as an evening and weekend reporter on ABC 13 News.

“There are reporters that I work with side-by-side now that I shadowed when I was just a little kid,” Barrett said. “Like Shern-Min Chow on Channel 11, I would go out in the car with her and be like, ‘Hi, can I come with you today?’ And now, we’re right next to each other for breaking news.”

Spilling that she hopes to find the balance between her fast-paced career and starting a family, Barrett shared a few other goals she plans to achieve.

“I really want to tell better stories on the news,” Barrett said. “We do a lot of stories that I think you watch and you’re like ‘That’s a terrible story,’ but my immediate goal would be to show the positive people and events in Houston and the surrounding area. I think there are awesome people that live in this town and we don’t highlight the positive enough; it’s always, unfortunately, the bad stuff.”

While the work can be stressful and chaotic, Barrett has had the opportunity to work alongside celebrities and athletes such as Houston Texans football player, JJ Watt. And although talking to those with a high profile can be exciting, Barrett mentioned that the stories she gets the most enjoyment out of are the ones that deal with normal citizens and their everyday struggles.

“Tomorrow I’m supposed to interview Dwight Howard from the Rockets and I’m excited about that, but those aren’t the ones that you go, ‘Oh yeah, that was the coolest interview,’” she said. “It’s the real people who are going through awful struggles that can hold their head high. There are a lot of strong people out there.”

Through Barrett’s passion for writing, reporting and helping in the community, she has achieved great success, including Best Investigative Reporting from Virginia Associated Press.