Telling Stories That Matter

In late 2021, Kentucky was hit by powerful tornadoes that blew through the western portion of the state, causing horrific
devastation. As national news crews streamed into the area, it was the mission of local journalists such as Grace Hayba ’19 Com, a weekend morning anchor and general assignment reporter for WDRB-TV in Louisville, to provide insight into the storms’ impact on people living in the region.

Hayba and her crew traveled long distances to cover the storms’ impact, sharing with viewers the many personal stories of residents who lost property, friends, and family. In recognition of her hard work and succinct reporting, Hayba, who has been with WDRB-TV since 2020, was honored with an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award in 2022.

She has covered a range of stories at the station, including the protests following Breonna Taylor’s killing, the local impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a piece she describes as “heart-wrenching” on the death of a man who traveled to Louisville to watch his daughter play in a basketball tournament.

Hayba enjoys covering breaking news because “there is something exhilarating about being the first one to a scene and gathering information as it develops.” She credits her ability to report on a variety of stories to the diverse experiences she had while at Penn State, including the internships she did with the Disney College Program, NBC4 in Washington, D.C., and the Penn State Hollywood Program in Los Angeles, where she worked for Jimmy Kimmel Live!

“All of my classes and experiences helped immerse me in communications,” says Hayba, who in June was nominated for four more Emmys. “They helped give me a better understanding of not just what I was doing, but why I was doing it.” —Julie Engelhardt