Known to family and friends back home as Troyla Washington, the El Campo native changed her professional name to Troy when she started her career in the television news industry in 2012 with the goal of becoming an award winning reporter. As a news reporter for ABC affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis, Ind., Washington recently made that dream come true with her first Emmy for her work in 2020.
“Becoming an Emmy award-winning journalist has been a goal of mine for awhile,” she said. “Although for awhile it seemed out of reach.”
As riots broke out across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota, Washington’s live coverage of protests taking place in Indianapolis was submitted for consideration.
“Like many places there were protests,” she said. “Many people responded ... people were breaking windows ... it was a very long day,” she said of being on assignment that day in May 2020. “People needed to know what was going on,” she said.
“Police were spraying tear gas, just trying to contain the crowds,” she said. “I was fortunate, I did not get sprayed, but some of my colleages were not. They got sprayed.”
WRTV submitted the Saturday newscast which won Washington the Emmy.
Washington actually was nominated for two Emmy awards in two different categories, but only coverage of the protests over Floyd’s death claimed the win.
“I wasn’t expecting to win,” she said. “This was my third nomination.”
Washington even did judging to get an idea of what it would take to win an Emmy.
“I kept trying to win ... I couldn’t even get a nod,” she said.
She submitted her first piece for consideration in 2015 and another in 2019 that earned a nomination before this year’s work finally received the award.
Washington’s career began close to 10 years ago for WALB in Albany, Ga. in 2012. She then took a job as a reporter for KSLA in Shreveport, La. for a couple of years, then Memphis, Tenn. at WREG from 2016-19 and now at WRTV where she works the 3 - 11 a.m. shift.
Washington has never grown tired of the work she does for several reasons.
“I love my work,” she said. “I like that every day is different.”
Her relationship with the community is also important.
“I want to stay connected to people. I want to shed light on what’s going on ... I want to be that voice of all the injustices. I try to use my platform for equality. I’m the community journalist,” she said.
Washington also believes in building trust with the community.
“I think people want someone they can relate to ... just be you,” she said of her reporting style.
Last year, when Washington was nominated for an Emmy, she had planned on attending the event, but when news of her cousin’s death in El Campo came, she gave up her ticket to attend and headed home to support her family.
“I earned my first nomination last year while live reporting on riots in Memphis at the time I was eight months pregnant,” she said. “I didn’t take home the win last year and didn’t attend that ceremony which was in person because a horrible tragedy shook my family. Keshun Riggins, my cousin, was killed. Family has always been and will always remain the most important to me, so I planned on traveling home and gave my ticket away.”
“So this win, it’s for family, specifically Keshun, for my cousin Kendrick, Keshun’s father,” she said. “It’s for my daughter who undoubtedly has already lived up to her middle name, Grace, and brought me more favor (than I) could have ever imagined experiencing.”
Washington takes pride in being an award winning journalist, with plans to earn even more awards. She is also hopeful to one day be a television news anchor.
Washington is the daughter of Troy and Laura Washington of El Campo and Phyllis Ellison of Rosenberg, formerly of El Campo. Her grandmother, Verlee Henderson, lives in El Campo.
Washington and husband Randall Newsome, also a reporter for a news station in Indianapolis, have a daughter, Riley, who will turn two next month.