By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Leslie Barrett will take over an evening news co-anchor post at 21 WFMJ-TV beginning Monday.
It’s a homecoming for Barrett, who is a native of New Wilmington, Pa. She had been working as an anchor and reporter at TV station WTAP in Parkersburg, W.Va.
Barrett will co-anchor the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekday newscasts with Bob Black. She is replacing Cindy Matthews, who left the station in January.
A graduate of Wilmington Area High School and the University of Dayton, Barrett said she’s happy to re- turn to the Youngs-town market and looks forward to telling the stories of area residents.
“It means a lot to me because I’m from here,” she said.
Getting hired at WFMJ brings Barrett’s career full-circle. Her introduction to TV journalism came at the station when she spent time job-shadowing reporter Michelle Nicks while still a high school student.
“I feel lucky to be home,” said Barrett. “I always dreamed of being here.”
Youngstown, she noted, is a larger market than Parkersburg, W.Va., which has only one TV station.
After graduating from Dayton in 2006, Barrett interned at Cumulus Broadcasting in Youngstown. She also did a stint with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
Barrett is married to Eric Barrett of Marietta. Her father, Campbell native Ray Cebula, taught and coached various sports at Wilmington Area High School.
As a high school student, Barrett danced at the Parou Ballet School in New Castle, Pa., and was involved in theater at New Castle Playhouse.
Regarding her work in Parkersburg, W.Va., Barrett said she is most proud of a weekly segment she did entitled “Wednesday’s Child.” She spotlighted local children in foster care, which resulted in several being adopted.
Some of the major stories she covered in West Virginia include a tornado last September that left one person dead, and the closing of Century Aluminum, a major employer in the Parkersburg area.