Smith climbs the ranks

Published 11:53 am Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Charlotte Court House native Ashton Smith has been named WSET ABC 13’s assistant news director.

“I have worked at ABC 13 ever since I graduated from James Madison University. I started as an editor, and then moved to producing the 11 p.m. newscast,” said Smith.

Ashton Smith

She said when Oprah Winfrey went off the air, she was given the opportunity to construct the 5 p.m. newscast. “…We created this new hour of television, which was an awesome experience to be a part of. After a year or so, then I was made executive producer.”

Smith said she held the title of executive producer before she was recently named assistant news director.

According to a press release from ABC 13’s News Director Scott Nichols, Smith is a 2009 graduate of James Madison University with degrees in journalism/media arts and English.

“Ashton, an eight-year veteran of our newsroom, has proven to be an invaluable leader, and not just in news but throughout the station,” Nichols said in the release. “Ashton’s journalistic integrity sets the standard for our staff.”

Smith said she loves the news field, and her favorite part of the job is having the opportunity to inform others and advocating to make changes in the lives of people.

“The other aspect to being in news is that every day is never the same,” she said. “You never know what is going to happen and you never know what your team will have to respond (to). …”

Smith is a 2005 graduate of Randolph-Henry High School. She said she is proud to have been raised in Charlotte County.

“My family is still there and I often come back to visit,” she said. “It will always be home and I will always love the people in it. I am just very grateful to know I have people who have loved and supported me my whole life who still follow my career and are cheering me on.”

“I see Ashton raise the bar for herself and for everyone in the newsroom everyday,” said WSET General Manager George Kayes in the release. “For our viewers, that means the highest quality of news across all platforms, from newscasts to our website to our mobile app and social media.”

Smith said she is excited about the future of WSET and the opportunity to play an even bigger role its newscasts.