Mount Olive’s Carolyn Blackburne Brings Her All to The News

By Steve Sears

Carolyn Blackburne with her Newswatch 16 awards (courtesy of Carolyn Blackburne)

News 12 New Jersey news reporter, Carolyn Blackburne, is bubbling with excitement. She’s getting married this year.

“Lake Placid,” she says. “We’re going up to the Adirondacks for the wedding. I’m super excited. We’re getting married right on the lake. I grew up in Budd Lake, so I grew up on a boat, basically. Me and my fiancé (Max Greenberg), who will be my husband then, we get to have a glass of champagne on the water.”

Blackburne while with WNEP-TV Newswatch 16 in Pennsylvania was an award-winning reporter, in 2019 snaring Outstanding Television Breaking News Report and Outstanding Television Feature Story Series awards from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. Prior to that, Blackburne was on-air at WDVM-TV in Hagerstown, Maryland. A Syracuse University alum, she in 2015 graduated cum laude from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

It all started in Mount Olive. “Going to Mount Olive High School was just a blessing beyond a blessing really,” says Blackburne, 29. “I was immediately using professional grade equipment from the time I was 16 years old. I knew how to shoot, write, and edit my own stories, and the school also really drilled into your head how to be a strong writer, how to tell other people’s stories, how to source your stories to make sure that you are completely fact checking, and that your story is ironclad.” By the time Blackburne entered her senior year, she was spending 12 hours a day at the school, arriving early in the morning and leaving at night. “I had three TV classes when I was a senior at one point, and then I also stayed late to finish my classes and my stories.” The strong, proper news reporter work ethic was further ingrained in her while at college and the S.I. Newhouse School. “It’s a very strong journalism school, and they really instilled in me that you’re only as good as your fact checking, and you really need to make sure that everything that you are telling your viewers is credible, because that’s everything.”

While in college, Blackburne – who was raised by her parents, Tom and Joan, and grew up with two sisters, Christy and Catherine – buttressed her skills with eight internships, among those working at WRNJ radio in Hackettstown and NJTV, and one summer she was in Washington, D.C., working with a bureau of reporters on Capitol Hill. “I was really lucky that my parents were able to send me on those internships,” she says. “I was able to take those internships and really get an understanding of what it’s like to do this every single day, day in and day out, and I met a lot of really great mentors. When I was in D.C., Scott MacFarlane took me under his wing. He’s a Syracuse grad as well, and he now works for CBS as a correspondent, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Blackburne is very fond of American veterans, and she has spent much time with them, sitting down and listening to their stories as a volunteer, especially at the Wilkes Barre VA Medical Center in Pennsylvania. In fact, a similar situation further nudged her into the career she loves. She explains. “I had two grandfathers who served in World War II. Part of the reason I wanted to become a journalist was when my grandpa first really opened up to me about the war. I was sixth grade, and my teacher had me interview my hero, and I said to myself, ‘Okay, my grandpa.’ I loved my grandpa so much, and the first time he really opened up to my family about what it was like to be in the war was during that project. My mom recorded all those interviews, and I’m just so grateful that I have those because he’s since passed on. But we still have all that family knowledge from those interviews and stories on video, so it was just really touching and really amazing that they had us do that.”

The affable, friendly Blackburne would one day like to host her own talk show, but what she’s doing now for her, you can tell, is the ultimate. “I always said my dream was to be a reporter in New Jersey and New York City, and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now. Interviewing people live, getting to really know them, and asking them about what makes them tick. That’s why I wanted to be a journalist, to be able to have these deep conversations with people, to better understand them. So much of that goes back to Mount Olive, because it is such a diverse community. I really think that was just such an asset growing up.”

For more information about Carolyn Blackburne and her career, visit www.carolynblackburne.com.

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