If you turn on Local 24’s news in the morning, you likely recognize Joy Lambert’s sunny smile. While her workday starts at 3 a.m., long before her husband (24’s chief news photographer Clint Lambert), or their 1-year-old son, Macallen, are up, that doesn’t dampen her spirits. Joy finds her schedule works well for balancing life as a news anchor and mom. Clint has mastered mornings, making sure Macallen is ready for day care before heading out to the station. And Joy picks him up mid-afternoon, spending the rest of the day at home, caring for her family.
A native Californian and graduate of California State University-Fullerton, Joy initially studied musical theater in college, but later switched to communications “out of practicality.” After cutting her teeth as a news producer in Los Angeles, she decided to move to Casper, Wyoming, where she introduced herself to the news director at the local NBC affiliate. Joy was hired as a producer and worked weekends honing her reporting skills. “Wyoming was a great place to learn,” she says.
Her next stop was Birmingham, Alabama, where her storytelling became intensely personal. Since breast cancer runs in her family, Joy did a story on the importance of getting tested for the BRCA1 & BRCA2 gene. An inherited mutation puts these women, like actress Angelina Jolie, at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Joy was on camera as she reported her results: she tested positive.
“It was crazy going through that process, though it was therapeutic,” she says. “I did the story in hopes of making a difference in someone’s life.” As the story aired, she sent up a prayer, “And the first email I opened was from a viewer saying how moved she was by my story and that she planned to get tested. After hers, I received many others.”
Doing that story, “gave me an understanding of how vulnerable it is to be the subject, especially when you’re approaching people on the worst day of their life. You feel nervous about what you have to say and wonder if it will matter to anyone. But seeing the impact made me believe in what I do.”
Most common misconception about TV news? People think we all make a lot of money. During my time in Wyoming, I realized I could make more money managing an Arby’s at $10 an hour. Also, that it’s glamorous. I consider it my best worst job, because you live away from family, and you have to move every two to three years [if you want to advance], so you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t love it. But I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Favorite celebrity interview?
Singer James Taylor. He told me the last time he’d been in Wyoming was as a teenager, driving across country with an ape in the back of his car. That made for an interesting story.
Best way to relax?
Singing, watching baseball (Go Angels!), and beach time with my family.
Biggest challenge while pregnant?
Finding a clean place to go to the bathroom. Believe me, I now know all the decent gas station bathrooms in town!
Biggest challenge after pregnancy?
Leaving Cal when he was 9-weeks-old. “I cried like a baby that first day. But while I was out on a story, I realized, I love my job.”
Three things in your purse right now?
A binkie, a Tide pen (it works great on spit-up and peanut butter), and a race car.
Your son’s current go-to toy?
Macallen loves these stacking blocks called Attack of the 50-foot Baby. They’re designed to be knocked down. He does that well.
Best thing about Memphis?
I love The Orpheum. Plus, there’s a coolness, a grittiness to Memphis that makes it a unique, fun place to live.