The Roanoker - May/June 2020 - 40

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40

MAY/JUNE 2020

" Once I did that, it became one of the most gratifying things in my
life, " Carlin says. " Viewers thanked me for talking about it, sharing
their own battle with sarcoidosis and how no one understands. They
were grateful for my shining a light on it. "
Carlin saw the immediate need to use his high profile position
in the community to build awareness on sarcoidosis. He continued
to do stories about the disease, worked with the VBR Grand Fondo
in Botetourt to make sarcoidosis the beneficiary for a bike ride
and even started working with Carilion. Carlin has since become
an official advocate with Foundation of Sarcoidosis research after
completing training in D.C. for the organization. He also kicked off
his own podcast, the Sarc Fighter Podcast, which at time of print
has recorded four episodes.
" Because of telling my story, I have heard and met so many people
from all over the country who have it, and others who are clamoring
for someone to shine a light on this illness, " Carlin says. " As a
journalist, you don't want to be the news, but this helped way more
than I ever imagined, so I'm willing to be that person. "
Carlin has become a staple in the local community, not only
for his work behind the news anchor desk, but for his community
outreach and extracurricular activities. He serves as the current
board chair of the YMCA of Roanoke Valley, is immediate past
president of the board of Saint Francis Service Dogs and is a
member of the board for Junior Achievement for Southwestern
Virginia. He is also a co-founder and board member for the Blue
Ridge Marathon, and a past board member of the Virginia chapter
of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He was named to the board
of directors for the Associated Press Broadcasters of the Virginias.
He also currently teaches podcasting at Radford University.
In his free time, Carlin gives equal billing to bicycling and flyfishing, his outdoor loves. He and his wife also foster puppies from
the Roanoke Valley SPCA, sharing their cute mugs on his social
media pages in hopes of boosting adoptions. Above all, however, he
values spending time with his four grandchildren.
Learn more about John Carlin at the WSLS10 website or follow
him on his social media pages to keep up with his family, sarcoidosis
awareness and much more.
-Liz Long

TheRoanoker.com

AARON SPICER

 A graduate of
the State University of
New York at Plattsburg
with a degree in mass
communication, Carlin
has been part of teams that
have earned the Peabody
Award (for coverage of
the Virginia Tech mass
shooting in 2007), three
national Edward R.
Murrow Awards and is
the recipient of numerous
individual awards, including five Emmy awards for reporting.
Carlin was the WSLS10 lead anchor from 1987 to 2008 before
spending five years in public relations. He returned to WSLS in
July 2013, enjoying being back in the anchor's seat as broadcasting
is " in his DNA. "
" It feels like this is what I was born to do, " Carlin says. " When
you're in the media, you have a front row seat to history, to
everything going on in the world and your community. Having that
seat and to play a small role as a member of the media, that's my
most comfortable place. "
The job is not without its challenges, including the late hours and
public responsibilities, though it's particularly hard when people are
critical of the media. In Carlin's mind, it's reporters' jobs to have the
best intentions, especially at the local level.
" When I was growing up and in college, Walter Cronkite was the
most trusted man in America and he was the person I aspired to
be, " Carlin says. " I wanted to be that trusted person and handle it
responsibly in terms of however the news was reported. "
Carlin adds that with the advent of fake news and other
politicized topics, he wants people to know they can trust what they
do at Channel 10. " When we're talking about local car accidents and
murders and zoning appeals, things we talk about on a local level ...
I want them to trust me to represent that fairly. "
But for all the challenges his job presents, the rewards make all the
difference. From being on the front row to news, to giving it back to
the public in a digestible way they can understand and appreciate,
Carlin finds joy in his daily tasks. He recalls a recent story about a
young boy with a terrible disease; because of their reporting, $50,000
was raised in two weeks for the family to add a handicap-equipped
room to their home for their child's special needs.
" To see that happen because of people within our stories, and
know you're having an impact, and a particular one on that family,
is extremely gratifying, " Carlin says.
Carlin has most recently shared a personal health battle that
developed into something much more. He was diagnosed with
sarcoidosis of the spine, and the prednisone he took for it made him
almost unrecognizable in his own eyes. Viewers wrote in to express
their concerns, and Carlin explained the situation to them from
behind the anchor's desk.


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The Roanoker - May/June 2020

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The Roanoker - May/June 2020 - Cover3
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