Most Interesting People 2014: Sara Shookman

Sara Shookman


Why she's interesting: As one of WKYC's newest reporters and a native Northeast Ohioan, Shookman is known for her hands-on, no-holds-barred reporting style. Last spring, viewers watched as she trained and competed in her first Tough Mudder — despite not having been a runner before. Shookman's next big assignment finds her in Sochi, Russia, where she will be one of a few Cleveland reporters on-site to cover the Winter Olympics in February.

Homeward bound: Shookman, who grew up in Portage Lakes and interned at WKYC as a college sophomore in 2007, returned to the station last year after working in Knoxville, Tenn., for three years. "It was always a goal to come back to Cleveland. There's something about working in your home market and getting emails from your kindergarten teacher because she saw you on TV."

Toughing it out: The 12.8-mile Tough Mudder that Shookman trained for last year threw some surprises at her. "I knew that you get muddy. But I didn't think the whole course would be solid mud. Everyone talks about the obstacles, but I did not realize in between the obstacles you'd be waist deep in muddy water. I was so worried about running — but you could barely run anyway."

In tune: An indie music fan, Shookman one day hopes to go to Bonnaroo, the four-day, multistage, musical camping fest in Tennessee. But she isn't sure if she can handle camping for that long. This summer she took her first dip in festival waters and went to the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Ky. "We stayed in a hotel, and went out to restaurants, and I got to sleep. It was my type of festival experience."

A good sport: In high school, Shookman was a cheerleader and a member of the track and field team. At one point, she even held the middle school record for shot put. "A lot of my friends were doing track. But I didn't like running, so my only options were shot put and discus. I got started with that and realized I wasn't bad at it."

New digs: For the past five months, Shookman has been working on a fixer-upper she bought out of foreclosure in Lakewood. But not everything has gone according to plan. "The upstairs floor is not in good enough shape to be refinished. So I decided to paint it with chalk paint to give it sort of an antique look. When I left, it was perfect. But when I came back, the whole floor was cracked and peeled up. I'm not much of a crier, but I was pretty mad."

Cleveland connections: Shookman has been preparing to cover all the local angles while in Russia, since there are two Clevelanders on the U.S. women's hockey team. "I'm trying to get introduced to all the local athletes now, so we can feature Cleveland and Northeast Ohio stories when I'm 5,000 miles away."

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