Longtime AP reporter, broadcast editor dead at 59
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Annie Shooman, a longtime Associated Press reporter and broadcast editor who was known for her work ethic and infectious optimism, has died.
Shooman, 59, died Tuesday in a hospital outside Portland, Oregon, from complications of multiple sclerosis, a disease she had wrestled with for more than two decades, said her close friend and former AP colleague, Allison Barker.
She remained close with many former colleagues even after her illness forced her to leave the career she loved in 2008.
“Annie was a spitfire and was full of life. She always made us laugh,” said Barker, who worked with Shooman in Charleston, West Virginia, for four years.
“You never knew what she was going to say. I just loved working with her and I loved her.”
Shooman was hired as an editorial assistant in Los Angeles in 1993, as she finished her degree at California State University, Long Beach, held down two waitressing jobs and worked as the managing editor of her college newspaper.
She used her first paycheck to buy plane tickets for her parents so they could come to her graduation, recalled Andy Lippman, the then-Los Angeles bureau chief who hired her.
“I told her that anyone who worked that hard had to have a place on the AP,” he said in an e-mail.
Shooman was promoted to a reporter in 1995 and transferred to Charleston in 1996, around the same time she began her struggle with multiple sclerosis.
She worked there until 2000, making fast friends with colleagues who still recall her perseverance and upbeat attitude. She liked to regale her colleagues with tales of her coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial, Barker said.
“She was hilarious, and being around her just made every day better,” said former AP reporter Vicki Smith.
Shooman then did a short stint in Boston, at times working the overnight shift, until she was hired in the Portland, Oregon, bureau as the broadcast wire editor. She fell in love with the Sandy River, which passed near her home in the eastern suburbs of Portland, and befriended AP’s broadcast members with ease.
Shooman, who was nicknamed “Shoo” by her colleagues, was “great at coaxing broadcasters to contribute news,” recalled then- Portland news editor Terrence Petty.
“It was so sad when her doctor told her she could no longer work. She loved being broadcast editor.”
Shooman was born on April 2, 1959, and spent her childhood in New Hampshire.
She is survived by her husband, Charlie Castro, and her sister, Diane Shooman. No services are planned.