There is a new face on KSDKs Show Me St. Louis, and it belongs to local St. Louis native, Julie Tristan. I had an opportunity to follow Julie for a day through her hectic schedule as reporter, photographer, editor and host of the show, and asked her questions along the way.
Q: Would you mind sharing a little bit about yourself with the readers of Lipstik Magazine?
A: Not at all. Im 34 years old, I am newly single (and there is not enough time to go into all that) and I love exercising and trying out the latest and greatest new ways to do something good for my body - from hot yoga to boxing, to working out with a personal trainer, Im there. I am about to start machine pilates and I am so excited to start something new. I also enjoy golfing and playing on my weekly bowling league. And yes, I am a St. Louis native. I grew up in Creve Coeur and attended Pattonville High School. When I graduated, I headed to Saint Louis University because I wanted to be an Orthopedic Surgeon. That was, until I had to dissect a frog freshman year, and that changed everything! I thought, if I cant even dissect a frog, how in the world can I be a Surgeon!
Q: So how did you go from Orthopedic Surgeon to studying Journalism?
A: Well, after deciding that I needed a new path, the one thing I really enjoyed was storytelling through videos. I put a lot of thought into what areas would allow me to do this and of course, becoming a journalist was at the top of that list. I transferred from SLU to Mizzou to major in Journalism. And once I was there, I knew it was the perfect fit for me and where I needed to focus my energies.
Q: Can you share with our readers how your career in Journalism got started?
A: As part of the program in the Mizzou Journalism School, students get to work at the NBC Affiliate in Columbia called KOMU-TV. It was then that I knew that hard news reporting was not my forte either. Telling viewers about tragedy was not enjoyable for me. It was then that I knew sharing entertainment news with lots of feel good stories was my passion and what I wanted to share with those watching. So, my next stop was a tad bit more exciting. I decided to reach for the stars and went after an internship at Entertainment Tonight out in LA the summer before my senior year. I contacted the Executive Producer, Linda Bell-Blue, who I knew was also an alumnus of Mizzou. I also contacted Jann Carl, a reporter on the show, also a Mizzou Alumnus. I sent letters explaining who I was and that I would love nothing more than being able to intern on their show and it worked! For three months I learned my craft at the top Entertainment Show on television. Like most interns, it wasnt all glamorous to begin with. I found that out real quick as one of my first jobs was to file tapes in the dark, dungeon of a tape vault. But I knew that I had more to offer than what they were allowing me to do. So I went back to Linda and asked if I could become more involved in the production of the show, and she obliged. Every morning at 5 a.m., I was allowed to sit in with the writers and producers and learned how they create the feature stories that really catch the viewers attention. They even let me try out Mary Harts chair, which is something I will never forget, along with how nice both Mary and Bob Goen were and how they were willing to share and mentor me into becoming a top notch journalist. The thing I remember most about Bob Goen, he ate tuna before each show, not sure why, I guess that was his favorite meal? Mary Hart was as gorgeous in person as she was on TV, and so were her legs.
Q: So you returned from LA and your dreams of becoming a feature reporter were realized, right?
A: Actually, not just yet. Once I returned to St. Louis, my first stop happened to be in radio. I became the Traffic News Reporter on Clear Channel stations KLOU 103.3, Magic 104.9 (where I was Julie T.), and GOSPEL 1600. Then I met Kelly Manno, who knew local radio celebrities Steve and DC, and they asked me to come be a part of their show, so I eventually began to co-host with them & became their Executive Producer. Then the show got hired as the morning show on 101.1 THE RIVER until the station rebranded as Movin 101, which then became 101 ESPN. Im still in the radio business as a weekend DJ every other weekend on 106.5 The Arch because I still love that part of my career so much.
Q: So how did you make the jump from Radio back into Television?
A: I loved watching Show Me St. Louis from the day it started back in 1995. I used to watch it every day after I came home from High School. The format was so refreshing and gave the viewer an array of things to do and see all throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area. I thought to myself Wow that would be like my Dream Job. If the opportunity ever presents itself, I would love to do that show. It just so happened that they were looking for a producer 5 years ago to do segments for the show and luckily for me, they brought me into the KSDK family! After 3 years of producing for Show Me, I became an MMJ (Multi-Media Journalist) where I shoot, write and edit all of my own stories, like I did as a reporter back on KOMU-TV. About two years after that the previous host, Wendy Erickson, decided that she wanted to spend more time with her family, so I applied for the host position, and once again, I was blessed with the opportunity to host the show! When I get on-set before the show starts each day, I sit in my hosting chair and say Thank You to God because I feel so lucky to be living my dream. The most fantastic part of my new gig as host is that I still get to shoot, write and edit all of my own stories. Having the ability to have creative control of the show gives you a sense that the vision you have for the show is exactly what the viewer is seeing. This job constantly has my creative juices flowing, whether behind or in front of the camera and I wouldnt have it any other way!
Q: I have to ask, with all the interviews you have done over the years, which ones stick out as your favorites?
A: Well, I am guessing at this point that you are waiting for me to share some celebrity interview I have done that has left a lasting impression. In reality, the interviews that stand out in my mind are the ones in which I get to interview non-profit organizations from around the area. There are so many incredible organizations throughout this area that do so many phenomenal things in our communities. The organizations that are nearest and dearest to my heart personally - and that I make time to volunteer at every week - are Stray Rescue and Gateway Pet Guardians. It is amazing what Randy Grimm has created with Stray Rescue. To think that all of his compassion for what he does came simply from his love of dogs when he was a child. I also interviewed and did a story on PJ Hightower, a volunteer with the Gateway Pet Guardians. During that interview, we traveled to East St. Louis - where she goes every morning without fail - to feed the animals who are homeless. I guess this interview and story has most touched my life and catapulted my love and compassion for the four legged creatures of this world. On this particular day, we came across a mother who had given birth to a litter of eight puppies in a ditch. Of course, PJ wanted to save them all, so I agreed to foster two of them. Those little fluff balls named Simone and Lulu really changed my life, and my moms, because she ended up adopting Lulu. Then I adopted another pup from that same litter and named her Molly. I have a few other companions that share in my life too named Champ, Mason and Yoda. So if you are guessing that from the last ones name, that I am a Star Wars fanatic, you would be right, and proud of it!