RECAP: Lena Pringle’s Ask Me Anything chat

Lena's hosting an AMA on Sept. 22.
Lena's hosting an AMA on Sept. 22. (WJXT 2020)

Ever wondered what a typical day holds in store for Lena Pringle? Or maybe how she likes to spend her time outside of work? What about what inspired her to get into journalism in the first place?

You’re in luck — those were just a few of the questions that came up Tuesday during Lena’s Ask Me Anything for News4JAX Insiders. We also covered a wide range of other topics, from her favorite places to eat and shop in Jacksonville to her advice for aspiring journalists.

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But don’t worry if you missed out on this morning’s chat. After compiling all of your questions and Lena’s answers, we’ve posted a recap below:

Question: What was your inspiration for getting into journalism?

Lena: This is something that I wanted to do since I was 8 years old! However, at the time I didn’t know exactly what journalism was, but I knew I wanted to tell people’s stories. I am a super curious person and love new experiences while getting out of my comfort zone. Journalism combines all those! Plus I LOVEEEEE people and communities, so naturally this was an awesome career path to take.

Question: What is your favorite food/restaurant in Jacksonville?

Lena: Ahh this is so difficult because I am a huge FOODIE! I love ALL kinds of food. My favorite kind of foods are seafood, pasta, Mexican, Jamaican, ALL things brunch, and soul food. A few of my favorite restaurants here are Safe Harbor, Soul Food Bistro, and Flying Iguana. If you have any suggestions, let me know. I’m always looking for a new place to try out!

Question: What’s your typical day like? When is dinner time?

Lena: So typically I am up around 2:45 a.m., I take my pup out, get ready, and head to work. Once I get to work I anchor the 4:30 a.m. show, then transition to traffic for the rest of the morning, and then go out and report on a story. That’s a shortened version of what I do at work. Then once I’m off, I try to get a workout in or go to the pool/do something outdoors, and relax! Fun fact: sometimes I don’t eat dinner because I eat huge lunches, so typically I’m not hungry again. Weird, I know!

Question: You recently got national coverage for your tweet and decision to wear your natural hairstyle on air. Was there resistance to that earlier in your career?

Lena: As for the viral tweet, I am still completely in awe. At the beginning of my career I was told by a few people that going natural and having a short haircut would be something that would ruin my career and I wouldn’t be able to get/keep a job in this industry because of it. However, none of those people were ever my employer. I’m so thankful that ALL of my employers have been supportive in allowing me to be me, no matter what that looked like. Thankful to see this stigma changing day by day.

Question: What piece of advice do you have for aspiring journalists?

Lena: Pieces of advice for aspiring journalists: make sure you’re ready to do the work. This is a hard career with immense privilege. But there aren’t shortcuts; you have to be ready to do the HARD work. Learn ALL that you can from everyone you can. Read, read, and read. Get mentors and cultivate authentic relationships. And always remain genuine — people can see through anything less.

Question: Do you consider yourself an early bird or night owl?

Lena: So I am a mixture of both. Sleeping in for me is getting up at 7 a.m. Haha! However, I can definitely stay up when I need to. All you need is a good nap for the later days! I never want to miss out on anything, so I’m often up at both ends of the day.

Question: What’s one thing about you most people don’t know?

Lena: One thing most people don’t know about me: I have studied abroad to New Zealand and Spain! Spent two amazing semesters traveling the world. I have been to six countries so far, definitely need to add more to my list!

Question: What are some of your favorite places to shop?

Lena: Fashion is one of my favorite things. I am so intrigued by clothes, patterns, styles, and textures! Some of my go to stores for work attire are New York & Company, Pretty Pieces (located right here in Jacksonville), and Amazon! Listen, amazon has some AMAZING dresses and they’re great prices. I call it “ballin' on a budget!"

Question: How do you take such amazing Instagram selfies?

Lena: Haha some good light and a smize. My best friend taught me about the smize! (Editor’s note: We Googled this and, in a nutshell, a smize is just a smile but with your eyes.)

Question: What’s your guilty pleasure movie?

Lena: My guilty pleasure movies are Seven Pounds and The Pursuit of Happyness!

Question: How’s your adorable puppy?

Lena: Awww baby Lennox is great! She’s a mini dachshund, 5 and half months and getting big. She’s a wholeeee 8 pounds.

Question: Of all the things to do here, what’s your favorite way to spend your time away from work?

Lena: I LOVE the beach! Going to the beach is one of my absolute favorite pastimes. The sun, sand, water. The beach and being outdoors in general are my favorite ways to spend my time away from work. I also love hiking and going to national parks. Something about being outside refreshes my soul and grounds me every single time.

Question: What’s one thing you have learned either about yourself or something new since you moved here to Jacksonville?

Lena: I have learned the true value of self-love and how to effectively deal with mental health issues like depression. Before moving to Jacksonville, I didn’t understand how to cope with or truly love myself through that process. But there is power in vulnerability and authenticity. Being in this city & having the support of this community has showed me that, I am forever grateful for Jacksonville & the amazing people who make up this city. This has been a beautiful, transformative time in the River City!

ICYMI: Rebecca Barry’s AMA | Vic Micolucci’s AMA

In case you missed it, Lena’s AMA is the third one we’ve done so far, following Vic’s and Rebecca’s. Stay tuned — we’ve got more AMAs scheduled over the next few weeks. View the complete schedule below:

  • Sept. 29: Sports editor Justin Barney
  • Oct. 6: I-TEAM reporter/anchor Tarik Minor
  • Oct. 13: Reporter/anchor Jenese Harris
  • Oct. 20: Consumer investigator Lauren Verno
  • Oct. 27: Anchor Tom Wills
  • Nov. 10: Anchor Kent Justice
  • Nov. 17: Anchor Mary Baer
  • Nov. 24: Anchor Joy Purdy
  • Dec. 1: Meteorologist Richard Nunn