PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Longtime CBS 3 anchor and reporter Pat Ciarrocchi has left an impression on the station ever since her arrival in 1982. Ciarrocchi returned home to join CBS 3 and has served in a number of roles throughout her time with the station.
Her great work has not gone unrecognized as Ciarrocchi has won numerous awards including multiple Philadelphia Emmy Awards. In 2014, she was inducted into the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, becoming the first female news anchor to earn that designation.
CBSPhilly.com took the time to sit down with Ciarrocchi to talk about her iconic career.
1. What/Who inspired you to pursue a career in TV news and how did that fuel you throughout your career?
My greatest inspiration has been my love of telling stories – writing words that can inform, influence and for me most importantly, uplift someone who is listening or reading. It has been that love that’s gotten me out of bed, even at 3AM… when I anchored our early morning newscast.
2. Has there ever been a story that you pursued that made you feel like you made a profound impact on the subjects of the story or the community?
Over the years, breaking news has come and gone. Sadly, the pain of the tragedies that seem to comprise breaking news lingers for those affected, but often pass quickly for those who listen to what happened. For me, though, the profound stories have been inside the initiatives that we have cultivated at CBS 3 – The Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Pediatric Cancers. Education and awareness through the Komen Race projects have saved lives. I know that. I’ve stood with the survivors on the Steps of the Art Museum for 25 Mother’s Days and I know that the Alex’s project to find a cure for pediatric cancers has changed lives … and given children back to their families from the grips of disease. It’s inspirational.
3. What story that you have reported had the most profound impact on your life?
I did a story in the mid-90’s on the heart transplant of a teenage girl, named Tonya Love. She had been treated at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. We spoke days before a heart became available for her. Think about that. She was waiting for another person to die… so she could live.
She loved life and she loved God. Tonya shared with me her devotional from the bible… and it read “trust in the Lord with all thine heart.” She posed to me… I guess that whether it’s my old one or my new one. Tonya was brave, and beautiful. The family that offered her the heart of their young daughter who had been killed in an accident was brave too. The story won a national award – known as the Gabriel. Through Tonya’s story…I learned about trust.
4. What colleagues have had the greatest impact on your career to this point?
All of my colleagues have been partners in my process of presenting the news to Philadelphia.
This is a business of synergy. Certainly, my “brother from another mother” – Ukee Washington has been my longest “dance” partner. I am forever grateful to the General Manager who thought we would make a great team.
5. If someone was asked to describe the professional career of Pat Ciarrocchi in one word, what would you want that one word to be?
COMPASSIONATE: I have always respected the people who make up every story… because the news is always about people… and I have always respected the audience who has watched.
6. You have seen the industry change quite a bit over your career. What are some of the best/worst things about how it’s evolved and how have you managed to adapt to it all so effortlessly?
Adaptation??? Effortlessly??? Sometimes the changes have come and I have kicked and screamed at the crossroads. I was never sure if I would fully grasp looking at video on my desktop… and then, logging interviews – so I could pick just the right sound bite to tell the story.
I do think colleagues who are in the battle with you and have your back at any point in time – in the studio, from the control room, in the field, at the anchor desk, all of them have helped to make industry changes more seamless.
7. What advice would you give anyone looking to get in to this business today?
Develop your curiosity and love of what’s happening in the world. We are a global neighborhood.
We are affected by all that happens around us. Have a desire to enlighten and enrich those who choose to listen to you, or read your work. Be fair. Be accurate. If the only thing you think about is being a “star” on TV, find other work.
8. What will you miss the most about this job?
The deadline. It has always focused me. When the clock is ticking, I write better, I think more clearly. I may have to impose deadlines on myself to get work done. I’ve never come to work without a watch.
9. Is there any person/place/story you hoped to cover and were not able to get to?
Up until September 26th, I would have said, Yes, the Pope in Philly. I would love to cover the Pope in Philly and then, as if it were miraculous, Pope Francis arrived. I was in the anchor chair with wonderful colleagues, Jim Donovan, Ukee Washington and Jessica Dean. We cried because we were moved by his kindness and his call to make us all better. I did it with joy.
10. It’s “Wheels Up” here but what’s next for you? A vacation and ____
Time to re-boot. I have ideas. I think I could be good at something else. This work has given me tremendous skills to think, extrapolate, synthesize, and act. I think that translates. I will let everyone know what is next. For now, it’s finding the right vessel to collect all the love that fills me.