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Memphis Teen Deidra Shores wins ‘Today’ show’s Kid Reporter Contest!

In IT-Teens on November 14, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Virginia Sherwood / NBC

The Commercial Appeal  11/14/2009 >>

Deidra Shores of Memphis reacts with stunned silence when told she was the winner of the NBC “Today” show’s Kid Reporter Contest. She erupted into a kicking, screaming fit of joy as she asked Al Roker, “Can you say it one more time?”

Deidra Shores, 13, of Memphis was too busy being a reporter for NBC’s “Today” show Thursday afternoon to chat on the phone.

But by the time she got back to her hotel room late Thursday, exhausted and excited at the same time, she was finally ready to talk.

“This day has been absolutely amazing. I am in awe. I’m so happy,” she said.

Deidra won the “Today” show’s Kid Reporter Contest on Thursday morning, then went out to cover the debut of the cruise ship Carnival Dream with a crew from the show, said her mother, Vanessa Conner, who waited in a hotel. She said the show plans to air the report Monday.

The pair plan to return home today, arriving at Memphis International Airport around 6 p.m. on a Northwest flight.

Deidra, a student at Colonial Middle School, reacted with stunned silence when told she had won. Then she erupted into a kicking, screaming fit of joy as she asked Al Roker, “Can you say it one more time?”

“At first I didn’t believe him,” Deidra said. “I said, ‘Are you serious?’ He said, ‘Yes, you’re the winner.'”

Deidra beat out thousands of youngsters who entered the contest, then made it through semifinal and final rounds in which about 40,000 viewers voted to select the show’s official “kid reporter.”

Deidra had charmed viewers with her bubbly personality, but later cried at the news, telling Roker, “I had lost all hope.”

The finalists and their families won a six-day cruise. Deidra also won a backpack, reporting equipment and a video recorder.

Her mother called Deidra a child who had “never met a stranger from day 1. She has a very big personality. She loves people.”

Conner said Deidra was continually performing, whether it was creating fashion shows, playing instruments, acting or telling jokes.

“Since she was itty bitty she has said she wants to be a superstar,” said Conner, 35 and a single mom who works in the FedEx corporate office. “I told her to tell people you just want to be an entertainer.”

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton called Colonial Middle to say he’d like to be part of the school’s planned celebration for the winner, Principal Marty Pettigrew said.

Deidra is a drama student at the performing arts school with a 3.8 grade-point average, said Conner.

Deidra demonstrated her talents earlier for the show by producing an “investigative” video in which she searched Memphis for Matt Lauer in a parody of the show’s “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” segment.

For the winning round, she and three other finalists covered the presentation of the world’s largest children’s book, a collection of children’s dreams created to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Now, it’s back to Memphis, but Deidra hopes she can talk her mom into extending the party a little bit. After all, what 13-year-old wouldn’t like a few more days away from school?

“She probably won’t let me do that.”

Staff reporter Jody Callahan contributed to this story.

Watch video of Shores’ reaction on the Today Show Web site.


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