“And in five…four…three…two…one.”

With that, the camera light comes on, and Lauren Elliott, field reporter, is “on” as well.

She seems like a natural in front of the camera as she interviews people and tells their stories, adding emphasis and emotion in all the right places.

A recent graduate of Bryan Adams High School, Elliott has spent the last eight months as a field reporter for School Zone Dallas, the news program featuring the people and activities of Dallas ISD. The show runs monthly on KERA 2 during the school year, with its last segment airing this month.

Elliott says the program has been a great experience for her, confirming that broadcast journalism is the career she wants.

“I pretty much always knew,” she says, “but after this, now I’m totally sure.”

Her favorite part of the job is interacting with the people she interviews.

“I think I prefer being a field reporter to an anchor,” she says, “because you get to be more people oriented. I wouldn’t like sitting behind a desk the whole time.”

Her favorite segment of the show, she says, was about a Thomas Jefferson High School cheerleader with Down’s syndrome.

“My little sister has Down’s Syndrome, so it meant a lot to me,” she says. “It was amazing that people could accept the differences and not let them get in the way. I cried a lot on that shoot.”

And while she learned about broadcasting’s behind-the-scenes work doing the program, she says she feels most at home in front of the camera.

“I never do get nervous,” she says. “I don’t know why. I’m kind of the type that likes the spotlight, so I think the fact that other people will be seeing it is kind of exciting.”

Cathy Reaves, executive director for Dallas Schools Television, says Elliott’s personality and maturity helped her excel as a reporter.

“She really did a great job,” she says. “The field reporters basically are out there on their own, and Lauren picked it right up. She was always great in front of the camera. We’d tell her to do her thing, and she’d get it done.”

Elliott hopes one day to combine her interest in broadcasting with another life-long love: sports.

“I’ve played sports from pre-school on up,” she says. “Right now I’m really focused on volleyball and softball, but I also used to play basketball, soccer, you name it. I wanted to play football and hockey, too, but my mom wouldn’t let me.”

And though mom Marilyn Elliott may have vetoed the idea of full-contact sports, she definitely encouraged her daughter’s broadcasting interests.

“My mother actually told me I should be a sportscaster when I was like 6 years old,” Elliot says, “because I’m so outgoing and into sports. She’s my best friend, and she has been really, really supportive.”

Elliott says she’s sad she’ll no longer be taping School Zone Dallas but is excited about starting college in the fall. She’s headed for Lindenwood University, a Missouri college nationally known for its broadcasting program.

And after that? Does Elliott hope to join us all in our living rooms one day, through a national news show?

“Oh yes, definitely,” she says. “Of course, I know I’ll have to start off small, wherever they’ll take me and work my way up. And I’d actually like to end up back in Dallas one day. I love it here.”

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