A heart “worth” talking about

Layla M. Halterman (lahalterman@ursinus.edu)

Most know New York ABC7’s Michelle Charlesworth for covering the latest and greatest stories. But there’s more to her; lots that the camera doesn’t show. 

Charlesworth attended Duke University and received a degree in Economics; a discipline quite unrelated to journalism. She then accepted a scholarship for a master’s program but dropped out because she hated it. “What the heck am I doing here? I also felt guilty about taking someone else’s scholarship when it wasn’t my passion.” 

There isn’t a typical day in television, however Charlesworth starts her mornings earlier than most. After checking her inbox and pitching story ideas to ABC7’s managing editor, she’s prepared to tackle the day. “I know where I’m going but sometimes it changes by the time I’m on the road.” After reporting, she heads back into the studio and ends the day anchoring. 

“I love how my job is always different, how I am always learning, and interacting with the public.” Charlesworth is confident being an empath is the most challenging part of the job because it’s easy to absorb the sadness and negativity. “You see things that are so obscene they stay in your hard drive,” she explained. 

The most difficult story, by far, she covered was a bullying incident. The bully invited a little boy from school to play. The attacker took an aerosol can, lit it on fire, and aimed it at the victim’s face. “The victim had gone through a lot already but still had the greatest spirit which broke my heart into a million pieces.”  

Charlesworth has achieved a lot in her career thus far, but claims to be most proud of the relationships she has built with her competition. “The people I often compete against I count as some of my best friends.” As for failures, there are none because she’s an “eternal optimist” who doesn’t believe in defeat. 

She advises those interested in journalism and broadcasting to pay attention to their curiosity. “You don’t want to regurgitate stories. You want to break them,” she added.  But she wishes she could tell her younger self that everything is going to be okay, take a deep breath, and have more fun outside academia. 

Lastly, Charlesworth would like to be known most for her humor, kindness, and  thought-provoking stories. “My job is to improve and enlighten things. To shine light in the dark corners. To tell the stories that no one is telling,” she concluded.