Gina Gaston: Anchoring the News … and Family
Daily work-outs help ease the stress of a busy lifestyle
By Melanie Saxton
Gina Gaston, co-anchor of the 6 and 10 p.m. news at KTRK-TV, ABC channel 13, has enjoyed a successful career in journalism — and an equally successful career as wife to former Houston Rocket Mario Elle and mother to triplets.
Although some may consider the news business a glamourous profession, in reality it can be extremely demanding. We asked Gaston to share her insights into the challenges of managing a high-profile career in journalism and caring for her family.
Even as a young girl, Gaston was a writer. “I loved writing poetry. I worked on the school newspaper and enjoyed it very much. I chose the double major of journalism and communications when I entered college at 17.” Her journalism courses focused on broadcast, while her communications courses focused on business. With a minor in International Relations, Gaston could have pursued many different career paths. “I chose the field of broadcast journalism, not because I had any particular role-model I aspired to. Rather, I relied on my own internal direction and knew this was my calling,” says Gaston. “Plus, I had the classic deep voice.”
Gaston has seen many changes in the news industry over the years. “Decades ago viewers could tune in to three channels. Now, with the advent of cable and satellite dishes, viewers have hundreds of choices. The technology keeps expanding, and the Internet has become a major news source. It affects how managers do their jobs.” News outlets now have to decide whether to post breaking news on the Internet or wait until the 5, 6 or 10 p.m. televised broadcasts. One case in point: the Chad Holley matter. In 2010 Holley, a teen, and three of his friends were arrested for burglary. Holley, while handcuffed, was beaten and kicked by the police. A surveillance video captured the incident. ABC13 received a copy of the video when no one else had possession. “The dilemma was deciding whether to wait, or whether to post the video to our website. We opted to post it. In fact, we usually put news on the Internet. More people are logging on to get the latest coverage, and we haven’t seen that affect our television audience. We continuously adapt to make news available on as many fronts as possible.”
Gaston’s advice to young, aspiring journalists? “First, be accurate. Over the last 20 years I have never personally worked with a colleague who purposefully biased the news. Although this may occur in some parts of the industry, news should be unbiased. I believe journalists should spend at least five years in the field learning the craft. Reporting is the backbone of what we do,” says Gaston.
“Second, be flexible. Be prepared to move around the country and take assignments.” Her resume clearly demonstrates her willingness to relocate. Before joining 13 Eyewitness News in 1992, Gaston worked as an anchor/reporter at WTSP-TV in Tampa, Florida, and as an anchor/reporter at WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and KLTV in Tyler, Texas. She left ABC13 in 1999 for MSNBC and returned after marrying former Houston Rocket basketball star Mario Elie. She settled back in at Channel13 in 2001 as a newlywed. In 2003 she became a mother.
Gaston met her husband while covering a Rockets championship game. Together they have 8-year-old triplets —two sons and a daughter. “Mario and I named our first born Gaston, after my maiden name. This may be a trend, because Deborah Duncan of KHOU Great Day Houston named her son Duncan.” The proud mom also thinks there is something to be said about birth order. “Gaston displays all the personality traits of an oldest sibling, while Glenn, our second-born son, is very easygoing. Lauren, born last, is definitely the princess of the household.”
Caring for triplets is a monumental but rewarding task. When her husband works out of town during the NBA season, Gaston considers herself a “solo” mom (as opposed to “single mom”) and takes her children to school every day. “Since I work in the afternoons and evenings, I do all the cooking and make sure my children eat well. I rely on our nanny while I’m on the job, and thankfully my mother lives just seven minutes away.”
Between the 6 and 10 p.m. news, she often attends her children’s practices, games and performances. “My kids are very active in extracurriculars. From batting practice to baseball practice to dance classes, my greatest joy is to be a part of it all. But I do admit that when Mario is back in town I feel a huge sense of relief. The stress immediately lifts with him there to help with the logistics.”
To pressure down, Gaston works out eight hours a week. “I go to the gym while my kids are in school but also count my blessings. I’m so incredibly fortunate to have my husband and three healthy kids. I get to be the kind of mom I want to be. I also work for the best news organization around, and I say that sincerely. Yes, I’m very blessed.”
To learn more about Gina Gaston, log on to abclocal.go.com/ktrk.index.