Note: This article has since been updated on April 18 at 6:20 p.m.
Molly Horst, a graduate of Bradley’s class of 2015 who majored in television arts, has made a name for herself in Nashville, Tennessee by winning a regional Emmy for her directing work on her coverage of the Nashville bombing in 2020.
Her time here at Bradley was not what one would expect. Both Horst and David Lennie, Director of Instructional Technology, said that while she was not involved much around campus during her time here, she did participate in Midstate Magazine, the student news channel at the time as the director.
Despite not participating in clubs around campus, Horst created a positive reputation for herself and for her work ethic which she still possesses today.
“She was very down-to-earth, pretty quiet and did good work,” Lennie said.
While Horst was finishing up her time at Bradley, she took on an internship and later a job at the local TV station, WEEK-TV.
The station gave her hands-on experience with teleprompting and clipping before, as Horst puts it, she forcefully made people teach her how to direct. Her blunt jokes ultimately led to her working as a part-time director.
Horst moved on from the station in 2016 and picked up her entire life to move to Knoxville, Tennessee for two years before accomplishing her goal of moving and working to Nashville.
Her climb to the director status that she is at now was not a completely difficult journey. Horst got to work with her boss and coworkers who collaborated to win the award.
At the station, Horst proved her skill and was granted the directorial position, which placed her in charge of directing the evening news as well as special segments.
“They [the station’s team members] trust me; I get to actually do cool things, I get to be a part of specials,” Horst said. “I’m one of the youngest people there and I am one of the main lead directors, which is really cool.”
Because of this, Horst was then given the opportunity to cover what won her the award: the Nashville bombings on Christmas Day in 2020.
Horst recounts the morning in full detail from the minute she woke up to the end of the grueling shift.
When Horst woke up on Christmas day she had no knowledge as to what was going on in the city that was 10 minutes away.
Horst said that she received a text from a family member in Peoria asking what was going on down in Nashville which caused her to tune into her station’s live stream to try and figure out what was happening..
When she got called into the station to cover the incident, she still had no idea that the incident was an intentional bombing and not a mishap with a Christmas turkey. As Horst was called in at noon, the news livestream she was watching finally used the word “bomb,” which gave her insight into what she was going to be covering.
Horst worked the entire day into the night getting stories and live reports of the incident.
“One of my producers … she’s phenomenal in breaking news situations,” Horst said. “She communicates super well because we’ve got live shots and people in the newsroom coming up with new information, calls coming in nonstop … it can be very hectic especially if you have a producer that isn’t good under pressure. Thankfully, we had a really good producer that day.”
After her shift had finished, Horst was finally able to take a breath after everything that had happened that day and would continue to happen in the following days.
However, thanks to Horst’s hard work and her entire team of producers and reporters, the coverage won them an award, which is currently sitting on Horst’s coffee table until she can find a shelf for it.
“The feeling at the station was very surreal,” Horst said. “At that point it was 2020, so we already had a lot of breaking news stuff. It was already a crazy year anyways, so it was kind of like a cherry on top.”
Horst’s former Bradley professors are still keeping in touch with her and are proud to see the life and career that she has built for herself.
“It’s great to see my students be successful, especially when it’s in the field [of communications], because sometimes people go off and do other things that they didn’t train for,” Lennie said.