CORPUS CHRISTI – While watching KIII-TV in the mornings before school, Leslie Adami would dream of sitting in that news anchor spot and giving her report of the local news. She made that dream a reality on Sept. 30 when she debuted as the new KIII-TV evening anchor.
Adami grew up in the Coastal Bend, living in Corpus Christi and commuting every day to Sinton where her mother taught at Sinton ISD.
“I did all my growing up here in the Coastal Bend,” she said.
At a young age, she took a high interest in journalism by watching KIII-TV before commuting to school.
“We got up earlier than my classmates at that age, so while my mom was getting ready for work she had the news on for my brother and I, because she’s like, ‘Oh, no, I’m not going to put cartoons on; I’m going to put the news so they can, you know, learn about what’s going on around,’” Adami said.
“I actually grew up watching Bill Vessey, and he would say, ‘Buenos dias, amigos’; he made watching the weather fun, and the news from a young age was always so interesting to me.”
She then got into writing, latching onto her English teachers and learning from them. Adami wanted to gain experience in broadcast journalism, but her school, at the time, did not offer any programs.
It wasn’t until after graduation in 2012 and attending the University of Texas at Austin (UT) that she got that experience.
“My second day on campus I meandered into the building where they had the student run-TV station and was like, ‘Oh, I’m ready to sign up; how do I get involved here?’ And they were like, ‘The first information session isn’t until next month, so come back then,’” said Adami. “I just was so eager to finally get started on how to write for broadcasts, how to work a camera, how to shoot things, how to do interviews and stuff like that. So, when I finally had the chance to start getting my hands on all that equipment and going out into the field at UT and Austin, I was just so excited.”
Coming from a small town like Sinton, Adami said her first semester at UT was rough, but she found the support in her professors and friend groups.
“After that first semester, I was like, ‘OK, no, I found my place,’” she said. “I know I’m supposed to be here, because I’m supposed to continue with this career, find my place in this career and just keep going to the next spot.”
She graduated in December 2015 with her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and certificate in Latino Media Studies.
Two weeks after walking the stage, Adami made her way to Lubbock to work as the weekday morning anchor for the CBS affiliate, KLBK News.
“I wandered into West Texas, which I had never been to before, and it is very different from South and Central Texas, but I loved it just the same,” Adami said.
She then made her way back to her college town of Austin, working as a morning reporter and fill-in anchor at KVUE (ABC). Adami wouldn’t be working long in Austin after hearing about the opportunity at KIII-TV.
“I did not think I would return home,” she said. “I figured I would just keep bouncing around to different cities. And always in the back of my head, I made it a goal, if the opportunity came up to go home, I would go for it and give it a shot.”
“As much as I loved KVUE, and everyone was wonderful, I felt like this was one of those opportunities you can’t miss because you don’t know the next time it’s going to come up.”
Adami would then apply for the position, interview and land a spot on the KIII-TV team.
The young news anchor said she considers herself as a big planner, always scribbling away her in planner. Despite that, she said she would not been able to plan everything that has happened for her.
“There’s this saying that goes, ‘When you plan things out, God laughs,’ so, I’m pretty sure I give God a good chuckle every single day. He’s like, ‘Girl, you’re scribbling in the book again,’” said Adami. “But I know that’s true now because there’s no way that I could have, by myself, planned this out the way that all happened.”
“So I know that He was there guiding me, and I’m so glad He did in the way that He did, because it led me here at this point in time with all these wonderful people and hardworking journalists.”
Working with the KIII-TV team has been a great experience for Adami. She said she feels right at home.
“Everything has been going so well,” she said. “They welcomed me with open arms. I feel nothing but thanks to the people who are here in this building. Literally from the front desk to the edit bays, everyone has been so just so nice and really treated me like family.”
Adami made her first TV appearance with KIII-TV on Sept. 30. It was an incredibly nerve wracking and exciting experience for the young journalist.
“What actually made me more nervous than any newscast in Lubbock or Austin was the fact that I had so many of my family and hometown friends here watching, and that actually added more pressure to do well,” Adami said. “But when the newscast started, I felt good; this is what I love to do.”
“Every day this week, I’ve still felt a little nervous going on the air,” she said. “And I think it still has a lot to do with the fact that a lot of people who I care so much about are in this audience. I want to do well for them and make them proud.”
For those interested in pursuing journalism, she advises to familiarize themselves with the different type of platforms, find out which one maybe for them and seek opportunities within that field.
“I don’t have any journalists in my family at all. I didn’t have anyone who was like, ‘Hey, here here’s so and so’s number; give them a call.’ No, I was emailing reporters from different places,” she said.
In fact, Adami followed Sarah Acosta for the day in high school when Acosta worked at the Caller Times.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to people with positions you would eventually like to do,” advises Adami. “Have them tell you the cold, hard truth about their realities and what it took them to get there. Ask them what they maybe don’t like about the job. Ask them why they love their job, what keeps them coming in.”
“As a journalist, when you’re able to get someone’s story out there who otherwise might have not been able to get out there or help the community out or expose the problem and help find a solution, I think those are the most rewarding moments, and journalism is just one of the many jobs that can help that in that way.”
“So reach out, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re a journalist; you have to ask questions, right? You have to be a little nosy and want to ask questions. Don’t shy away from opportunities. I’m glad I didn’t shy away from this one because this one brought me brought me here, brought me back home, and I’m so happy.”
Adami comes on the air at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. every day on KIII-TV.
AJ Lopez is the assistant editor at the News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270 or at sanpatricio@mySouTex.com.