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Journalism is a family legacy for University of Mississippi grad, now New Orleans reporter and anchor

Peyton LoCicero Trist is a University of Mississippi graduate who now works as a reporter and anchor for WGNO New Orleans. She is pictured here behind the desk on the WGNO set.
LoCicero Trist on the set of WGNO. Submitted photo.

Deja Errington
Oxford Stories
dejaerrington@gmail.com

There is no such thing as a typical day for Peyton LoCicero Trist, breaking news reporter and fill-in anchor at WGNO, an ABC affiliate in New Orleans. When her alarm goes off at 2:30 a.m. each morning, she never knows where the day is headed.

“I can be out talking about the Mardi Gras horses up for adoption and then have to run over and talk about a murder case that could be a possible serial killer,” said LoCicero Trist. Each day can require five to 10 live shots.  

LoCicero Trist developed a love for journalism at an early age. Her mother worked as an anchor in Baton Rouge, her hometown, and some of her favorite childhood memories began with her mother waking her up in the early hours of the morning and taking her to the studio, where she saw the ins and outs of newsmaking. 

Her days with her mother at the studio ended when her parents moved and started a business in Destin, Florida, right before she began middle school. While Hurricane Katrina made 2005 a bad year for most Louisianans and Southerners, it was a good year for LoCicero Trist.

“For me, it was such a blessing because I was struggling to make friends in Destin,” she said, “and all of the sudden, all these refugees came to my school, and they were feeling just as displaced as me.”

Carley Keyes, one of LoCicero Trist’s sorority sisters and friends, met her in college.

“She was so personal and bubbly,” said Keyes. “She always had a smile on her face and always seemed to find the good in everything.”

Today, she is known as “Positive P” by her coworkers. She has learned the hard way that someone within the station has to be willing to rally others. In challenging times, it is important to have a voice of reassurance.

Choosing the University of Mississippi was a no-brainer for LoCicero Trist. She attended Junior Preview Day and fell in love with the campus and Oxford culture. She served as an anchor for NewsWatch, the campus television station, and wrote for HottyToddy.com

LoCicero Trist’s time with NewsWatch reinforced her passion for broadcast journalism. University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor Nancy DuPont was one of LoCicero Trist’s mentors. She said DuPont always saw her full potential and pushed her to be better. DuPont passed away in December of 2021, but LoCicero Trist’s connection to her brought many opportunities.

Peyton LoCicero Trist working as a reporter in New Orleans.
LoCicero Trist on site

LoCicero Trist’s post-college job hunt was not an immediate success. Following graduation, she returned home to Destin, Florida and worked in her family’s business. 

“I actually had a hard time finding a job in journalism and finding a broadcast, on-air position,” LoCicero Trist said. “There just weren’t that many positions available when I first got out.”

A UM advisor reached out and told her about a position at WMBB in Panama City Florida, and she was offered the position on the spot during her interview. 

After three years of working with WMBB, LoCicero Trist felt she had reached her full potential with the news station. Soon, a position with WGNO, her current employer, opened. She got creative with the application process, emailing her reel to the director. She was told to come in for an interview and was, once again, offered the job on the spot. 

No two days are the same in New Orleans, and because of COVID-19, things have been different.

“I have never seen such a vibrant lively city look like it did a year ago,” LoCicero Trist said. “I could walk down the French Quarter and not see a soul.”

Since the start of the pandemic, New Orleans has been an epicenter for the virus. The impact on the news station was inevitable.

“We all got our own laptops, and everyone got their own gear, and we were told to go home, and work from home,” LoCicero Trist said. 

She encourages journalism students to learn Adobe software. Knowledge of Adobe Premiere helped LoCicero Trist during the pandemic, as she was working from home and often had to edit her own material.

She also encourages journalism students not to give up. It is often said that news and print are dying. There will always be news, and she encourages students to persevere through these times.

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