Joan Hallmark is an Athens native with a warm smile and an instantly recognizable speaking voice. She sits elegantly on the edge of her chair, eyes dancing with mirth, as she recalls her life and employment with KLTV.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Joan began her journalistic career at Dallas’ KVTV Channel 11, where she hosted “The Joan Hallmark Show”. When she started out in television there were no female anchors and very few women in technical positions. Despite this fact, she remembers “never having felt held back just because I was a woman.” Joan forged ahead, and a female camera operator shot the first story she had aired on “Good Morning America”.
During her time in Dallas, Joan was also in contact with KLTV where she was contracted to do various stories. Later she accepted a more permanent position and moved to Tyler. The exact date of her hire has been lost amongst stacks of paperwork, but not her sense of humor. Starting out Joan did interviews and even forecasted the weather during the noon broadcast.
“The maps we used were hooked up to a machine made from an old Cadillac motor. I had to push a button to make the maps change, but one night I hit the button wrong and flipped past my maps on air. It was a mess, I didn’t do weather for too long,” Joan adds with a chuckle.
When asked what story touched her most during her career, she leans back in her chair and says, “ I can’t name any one story that’s touched me the most. My career has been a patchwork pattern of people and their stories. I’m touched everyday.”
While Joan feels moved by the people and stories of East Texans, the sentiment is mirrored in their reaction to her contributions as well. There are very few places she can go without being recognized for her “Proud of East Texas” or “Freedom Fighters” series. For 30 years she has been on a treasure hunt looking for the jewels of the state to share with the folks at home in front of the television.
“The goal of my career is to perfect my craft. To find better and better ways of doing what I love to do,” Joan says.
To read more about Joan Hallmark's award winning “Proud of East Texas” or “Freedom Fighters” series, click here.
Phedra Johnson, reporting.