Ashlyn Tubbs, former writer for The Daily Toreador and current news reporter at KCBD-TV, said she has been writing since her childhood and got heavily involved with it in middle school.
“I always loved to write, so I would do creative writing in second grade,” she said. “I won the Young Writers and Illustrators contest for Reading Rainbow in second and third grade, and I can remember the news coming down from Amarillo to interview me. At that time, I thought I wanted to focus on writing books, but as I got older, I joined 4-H and was named the 4-H reporter in junior high. They had me write these little features for each 4-H member and the Clarendon newspaper would allow space for my features in their newspaper as well, so it was a really cool experience.”
Tubbs said she continued writing in high school and competed in different UIL writing competitions to gain more experience.
“When I was a freshman, I decided to apply to write for the Clarendon newspaper,” she said. “I applied when I was 14 and got the cover reporter position. I would go out and cover events like City Council meetings and other town events. That’s when I decided that news was what I wanted to do. I went to state my junior year in feature writing and got second place. Doing that well at state and my overall experiences so far really concreted my love for the ethics of journalism and how creative you can be with features, which are definitely my favorite.”
Tubbs said she already knew coming into college that she wanted to work for The DT.
“I researched it and I knew that was what I wanted to do for as long as I could,” she said. “I applied for the freshman apprentice position and told them about my experience writing for the newspaper all four years of high school, and shortly after I got a call from the editor-in-chief who told me I was more than qualified.”
Tubbs said her experience as apprentice at The DT gave her more well-rounded experiences with different styles of writing, as well as using technology to tell her stories.
“In the apprentice position, I got to do a little bit of features, news and I got into the multimedia department,” she said. “That’s when I kind of started trying my hand at video. I would edit it and turn the video into a story. I was able to find those stories that people were interested in hearing. I knew I loved the writing part of it, but the most challenging and rewarding part about it was giving a voice to the stories that needed to be heard. After I got my first camera, I really learned to appreciate the art of video and photography, and those components really helped me tell good stories.”
Tubbs became the editor for the La Vida section of The DT after the summer of 2013, and shortly after her time as editor, she got an internship with KAMC.
Tubbs got the internship after attending KAMC’s job fair and networking with some of the directors.
“I walked into that newsroom and I knew that was exactly where I wanted to be,” she said. “People were running around the newsroom, and it was just this adrenaline rush. The breaking news atmosphere was what I knew I wanted to be a part of. At the time, I really didn’t understand it, but I knew I wanted to.”
Tubbs’ internship at KAMC ran its course, and she eventually found herself needing a job. Tubbs enlisted the help of Todd Chambers, associate dean of undergraduate affairs in the College of Media and Communication, for her search.
Chambers suggested Tubbs attend the Texas Association of Broadcasters Convention, she said, which would prove to be Tubbs’ path to KCBD. She said her opportunity came at the conclusion of the convention, where she met the news director for KCBD.
“Todd Chambers had me meet all of the news directors and figure out exactly what they were looking for in applicants,” Tubbs said. “Benji Sneed, the news director for KCBD at the time, said he had a position open for a reporter, and while I hadn’t done anything on camera before, I took the chance and went in to read scripts for him. He told me I needed to work on some things, so I went home, worked on them and came back a while later. At some point during my reading, he said, “That’s it. You emphasized all the right words and showed that you can improve, so let’s go sign a contract.”
Tubbs said her first year was a learning experience trying to tie together the film, writing and reporting aspects of television, but once she transitioned into her second year, she was telling stories more effectively and finding her passion for her job.
“You meet these people at their happiest times and happiest moments, but also in their worst times when they’ve lost a loved one in a tragic way,” she said. “To be able to be their voice is really powerful. They could be the quietest voice in the room, but we can make theirs the loudest voices when telling their story. That is the part of my job that makes me want to come here early and stay late every day.”
Ruben Villarreal, KCBD news operations manager, said he most admired Tubbs for her ability to balance school and a career.
“I’ve known Ashlyn Tubbs for nearly two years. She started her career at KCBD while she was still a student at Texas Tech,” he said. “Not that others haven’t done the same, but the life of a news is reporter is a demanding one and she handled it well.”
Villarreal said he praises Tubbs for her ability to tell stories in an engaging way, and said she has improved significantly since she started at the station.
“Ashlyn has grown leaps and bounds as a reporter over the past two years,” he said. “She has developed into a dynamic storyteller. She has the ability to really bring out the emotion in a story and draw you in.”
Villarreal said he thinks the College of Media and Communication at Tech equipped Tubbs for her career and he said he looks forward to the stories she will turn out in the future.
“I think the media and communications department at Texas Tech really prepared her to hit the ground running once she began her reporting career,” he said. “I am excited to see what the future holds for her. It has been a pleasure working with her, and I look forward to many more great stories during her time here in Lubbock.”
Kasie Davis, 10 o’clock news producer for KCBD, is not only Tubbs’ colleague, but she and Tubbs are also roommates. Davis said she looks at Tubbs from a mother’s eyes — she cannot do any wrong as far as Davis is concerned.
“Her work ethic is incomparable,” she said. “She regularly clocks in 14 and 16 hour days and even when she goes home, she’s still digging to find her next story. Her reporter bug never really goes to sleep.”
Davis said her favorite thing about Tubbs is the fact that she can flip a switch between her personal life and career in a split second.
“If you were to meet her on the street, you would probably hear a lot of giggle, see a shy smile and most likely hear a bit of her Texas accent,” she said. “However, all of that is put on the backburner when she is on the job. She is assertive and attentive and passionate about her stories — and above all, strives to find the truth. Truth is a reality and a necessity in our profession, whatever that truth may be, and I can think of no one I am more honored to share in that quest with.”
Davis said there are hardships that come with being a reporter, and said she admires Tubbs for never allowing those hardships to affect her.
“Ashlyn has worked at KCBD for two years now, and in this career, two years can seem like an eternity,” she said. “From car accidents, to murders, to births and children fighting deadly diseases, she has told people’s stories. In fact, she has conveyed their emotions in almost a poetic fashion. Her love for her career, for the stories that still need to be told, will follow her throughout her life and will drive her to do and see wonderful, wonderful things in this world.”