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Newest addition to CBS4 more than an anchor

Ashley Montgomery | 6/26/2014, 9 a.m.
This isn’t Kansas (City) anymore and Irika Sargent knows it. Back in May, Sargent happily joined CBS4 Miami as their ...

This isn’t Kansas (City) anymore and Irika Sargent knows it. Back in May, Sargent happily joined CBS4 Miami as their newest anchor. She is hoping to transition with ease as she has an extensive background to guide her.

“I came here for two reasons basically, the opportunity at CBS4 and also because it’s well, South Florida,” she said. “I’ve been to Miami on many occasions, I have friends down here – the vibrancy, the beauty of the area and so I knew that living here would be a different step but I knew it would be a good place to live.”

Raised in Kansas City, Mo., she attended the University of Missouri where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. But, she didn’t stop there – Sargent then earned her Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School.

“I mapped out this plan back when I was in college of how I can combine the two,” she said. “It’s a very competitive industry and it has been very valuable in a lot of ways. It gave me the opportunity to be in a courtroom and I found that when I got out of law and back into journalism – the first place it was helpful was in a newsroom and deciding what stories we should cover. I was able to kind of give my legal perspective of why it was important, why we should cover it and who we should reach out to in the community.”

But that’s not all she was able to use it for. Sargent said it has been helpful when going out into the field and knowing her rights. As a journalist, investigative reporting is a way to get unique angles on local stories and having the law background she is able to go the extra mile in some cases. The multifaceted beauty practiced law for four years in New York City at the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP, where she represented clients in New York federal and state courts, as well as before the New York Division of Human Rights and National Labor Relations Board. Additionally, Sargent made time to give free legal services to non-profit groups and underserved communities. She currently is a member of the New York Bar Association.

“ It’s important to know issues like trespassing, whether you’re allowed to be on the property and what you’re rights are,” Sargent said. “There are a lot of times where it has been a benefit on how to dig and research many law pieces. The extra insight has been really helpful.”

CONNECTING TO THE VIEWER

Since her arrival, Sargent and her team at CBS4 have made a conscience effort to reach out to South Florida residents. She penned an open letter to her new audience. In the letter, she asks to get to know the public better and what are some issues that are important to them.

“I think when it comes down to broadcast news, the audience is everything,” Sargent said. “What you’re trying to do is bring your viewers stories that matter to them and whether it be tragedy or positive stories that inspire people – I think it really has to do with connecting to the viewer.”
Social media has played a huge whole in this changing industry. More than ever before, viewers look at TV anchors as a real person who they can relate to. Sargent said that she believes CBS4 understands this and is looking forward to using her social media tools to connect with Miami residents. Throughout her career, Sargent has been involved with a number of charity organizations, including the American Cancer Society and Habitat for Humanity. With a passion for animals, she hopes to be a part of organizations geared toward helping abandoned animals soon.

ADVICE FOR YOUNG BLACKS

As one may imagine having been a native of Kansas City, it may be hard to understand why Sargent would want to move and venture out of her comfort zone. Why would she leave a comfortable lifestyle of being an attorney to become a journalist? Well, according to her, the answer is simple:

“Half the battle is having the confidence and the drive to reach your goals,” she said. “I think that there are a lot of times people said I was crazy to get out of law but when you have a dream and you have confidence that you can accomplish it – stick to it.”

To find her on Facebook like her fan page at Irika Sargent and follow her on Twitter.