- Associated Press - Saturday, April 6, 2019

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) - Brad Rice, seasoned news photographer at WCHS/WVAH-TV, was honored Saturday as the recipient of the West Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award is given annually by the Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters to an individual in West Virginia broadcasting for at least 20 years, who has made significant contributions to news reporting, management or education in the industry.

Rice, who has worked at the station in Charleston for 25 years, graduated from West Virginia State University in 1986 with a degree in communications. He started his career at West Virginia Public Broadcasting as a production assistant in 1989 and made the move to WCHS four years later, when the ABC affiliate hired him as news photographer.

He said the biggest change he has seen over the ensuing decades is the impact social media has had on the broadcast industry.

“When I began, you shot your story, edited your story, and got it on the air by deadline,” Rice said. “Now that’s just half of our responsibilities. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are where an entire new generation gets its news, and creating those elements along with your broadcast story takes a lot of time.”

As he tells new recruits at the station, “You will mess up…count on it…plan on it…but learn from it.”

In addition to covering regular news assignments as needed, Rice produces two weekly franchise segments, “West Virginia Wildlife” and “Traveling West Virginia.” His camera has delved deep inside black bear dens in the midst of the hibernation season to chronicle the tagging and marking of young cubs. He also has ventured into the darkest bat caves where biologists search for clues to maintaining the health of the colony and the species.

He schedules, shoots and edits the segments, which have garnered numerous awards over the years not only from professional news groups such as The Associated Press, but also from the organizations he covers.

Rice has been honored by both the West Virginia Bowhunters Association and West Virginia Trout Unlimited as Photojournalist of the Year. And the West Virginia Department of Tourism has named “Traveling West Virginia” the state’s Best Broadcast Feature series five times.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by the VAPB at the group’s awards luncheon and annual meeting at The Greenbrier Resort. The group is comprised of more than 30 radio and television stations across Virginia and West Virginia.

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