They compete for eyeballs among Boston’s TV-news-viewing public now, but when Jenny Barron and Kimberly Bookman first met, they were coworkers who came to discover that they had a scoop—about themselves.
It was 2009, and Bookman, an on-air reporter, had just been assigned to WCVB’s morning show, which Barron executive produced. “I had all these questions, so I sat down with her before starting,” Bookman recalls. “One thing led to another, and we realized that we both went to American University—at the same time. We made the connection that we had been in some of the same classes together.”
The two, who didn’t know each other at AU, reminisced about how Professor Alison Schafer wore jeans with a blazer to lectures, just like news anchors do during a broadcast. They formed a friendship that has endured, even after Bookman moved to a rival Beantown station in 2014.
While Barron still runs the ABC affiliate’s EyeOpener morning show, Bookman now contributes to WHDH’s afternoon newscasts. “You’ll laugh at this, but I actually just got what I consider better hours. I have to be here at 3 a.m. now. For years I’d come in at 11:00 the night before,” says Barron, who hits the sack at 5 p.m. (She adheres to a strict one-cup-of-coffee-per-day quota.)
“You can tell what an optimist Jenny is by saying that coming in at 3:00 is coming in later,” Bookman says.
Despite their schedules (Bookman works a more manageable 10-to-7 shift), both still harbor a passion for television news in Boston. “I am always struck by the connection people feel with the stations here,” Barron says. “They invite us into their homes, and they hold us to a standard that as someone who takes journalism very seriously, I want to live up to.”
Boston is a top-10 media market, but in many ways it feels like a small town, Bookman says. “We have a real relationship with the communities and people that we cover.”
And still, despite their friendly rivalry, with each other.