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Local media heavyweights have been making a mass exodus of late, and we wondered… what’s next? From shifting gears to launching their own businesses to plugging their storytelling skills into new platforms, here’s how a trio of local media legends are transcending their own stories.
Sloane Heffernan | Storymore
Sloane Heffernan believes in the power of storytelling. A two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist and 25-year news veteran—15 at WRAL— Heffernan has honed her ability to catch and retain attention by taking something complex and making it easy to digest in under a minute and 20 seconds. Now, she is transferring her valuable skill set into helping businesses tell their unique stories through her video marketing company, Storymore.
“I love asking questions, and I love telling stories,” says Heffernan. “Even though my love affair with the news started to wane, I had a desire to do more with storytelling.”
Storymore grew from webinars Heffernan gave through the Small Business Center at Wake Tech, teaching small business owners and nonprofits the power of crafting a narrative to connect with their audiences on a deeper level. Through a challenging year-and-a-half in the news business, Heffernan decided to listen to the “whisper in her soul” that it was time to make a career change and turn something she loved doing into a business.
“What really makes a business unique is their own individual story,” says Heffernan. “I think that stories allow us to really share our perspective in a way that we can have a heart-to-heart connection and build relationships and loyalty.” facebook.com/pg/storymorecontentcreators
Mark Armstrong | Wow 1 Day Painting
Mark Armstrong is trading in sportscasting for a painting business—and he couldn’t be happier. With almost 23 years in sports broadcasting under his belt, Armstrong feels that now is the time to pivot his career from ABC11 to launch Wow 1 Day Painting in the Triangle.
“It’s obviously a huge left turn from being a sportscaster my whole life,” says Armstrong. “But anything would have been a big left turn from being a sportscaster.”
Armstrong got the idea of owning the franchise from a childhood friend in Toronto who also owned a franchise through the Vancouver-based company. By buying into a franchise, Armstrong feels like the fear of stepping off the ledge and walking away from a salary and benefits isn’t as intense because of the training and coaching that comes along with it. His skills in broadcasting will also help build customer rapport.
“I’m totally at peace turning the page now,” says Armstrong. “I could have stayed until the end of my contract in October, but once I made up my mind what I was doing next, I was just like, let’s go! All of my brain is wired now toward this next thing, and I’m putting that broadcasting career in the rearview and have total peace of mind.” wow1day.com
Julie Wilson | Average Adventures
While working from home last year, ABC11’s Julie Wilson felt productivity increase. She was able to do more interviews and tell more stories, and, overall, tap back into her
“I hadn’t realized how much I’d been missing out on that,” says Wilson, who started putting up funny videos on her Instagram account (@andjuliewilson) last April. After seeing direct feedback from people who enjoyed these positive videos (even if just for 40 seconds or a minute), it occurred to her that maybe she could do more with it.
“That fueled the idea of, hey, maybe I can tell stories that are positive in a situation outside of news,” says Wilson. “I’ve always really enjoyed telling stories that make people pause and go ‘Huh, I didn’t know that. Very cool.’”
And, so, Wilson’s YouTube channel, Average Adventures With Julie Wilson, was born last summer, which led her to start exploring and documenting areas in North Carolina and Virginia, visiting historical sites like Jamestown, and meandering through 18- to 20-foot busts of our first 43 presidents, as well as swimming with manatees and alligators for a recent weekly “Explore Florida” series—all in an attempt to bring joy to viewers.
“I want to spread some love and some light and some positivity,” she says. youtube.com
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