It was September when Elise Hannah got the call she had waited her whole life for. She would be packing up her bags from small town Toledo, Ohio and traveling to Chicago, Ill., where she received a job as a Morning Show Segment Producer at NewsNation Network, a large market news station in Chicago.
Back in small town Adrian, Elise’s husband, Jay, reflects on the life they have built together so far.
“Right out of college, I got a job at the same news station with Elise in a small, population 4,000 town in Nebraska.”
However, this was not the beginning nor the end of their time being an arm’s length away from each other. Elise and Jay both graduated from Adrian College in 2015. They began their journey as a couple when they started dating their senior year at Adrian.
After graduation, the two ended up at the small market news station in Nebraska. Elise worked in news, while Jay mastered his craft in the sports department, winning a Nebraska Broadcaster’s award during his time there.
Their success continued as Jay was given a job in Toledo, his hometown. At the same time, Elise also began a job at a competing news station in Toledo.
After three years, Jay’s contract came to an end and it was time to figure out what was up next in life. Deciding he was ready for a change, he took a few months off from full-time work. He received a call from Adrian College after some time, asking him to return to his alma mater.
He currently serves as the Director of Media Production Services here at Adrian, where he manages the college’s ever-growing, successful sports broadcasting service, ACTV.
Meanwhile, Elise continued her career at the station in Toledo, becoming decorated in her executive producer role. She has received multiple Emmy awards for her achievements in the news field.
They were still able to live together in Toledo while both taking on separate positions.
After Jay had been at ACTV around a year, Elise received the call about her job in Chicago. Jay would be staying at Adrian for the time being, as he had just begun his masters program in Higher Education at Adrian College.
It is no secret that grad school is not easy, on top of a full-time job. Neither is producing at a large market news station. On top of that, Elise would move to Chicago while Jay would stay in the Adrian area to finish his degree.
With that being said, the pair is now living four hours away from each other, compared to when they worked in the same area and lived together for years.
“Having to operate at any capacity away from your partner has its difficulties,” said Elise. “We get through it with communication. After all, we both majored in it.”
She mentioned that in the news world, having to live apart from your partner is not all that uncommon.
“We have met several other couples that have had to work states away from each other in order to advance. It’s tough, but luckily we had that discussion before making any commitments.”
Most couples can’t imagine being without each other for a day, while others are used to the distance and have become as comfortable as possible with it.
“We were in college together, and had lived together ever since graduating,” said Jay. “We have always been by each other’s sides.”
Just like Elise, Jay knew living apart would be a possibility in their career field.
“I try to get out to Chicago and see her every other week, and she even plans on making some trips here as well,” he says. “We’ve never really been about facetime, but have started to do that to stay connected.”
When you are in a long-distance relationship, it is not only important to communicate, but also to make sure you are on the same page when it comes to future goals.
“Chicago was always the goal for us, and we have talked about it for years,” said Elise. “We faced major hardships both personally and professionally, and at times, I didn’t think this move would be possible for us.”
Now, Elise is living out the position that some people in the news field can only hope for, producing in a big city.
Although her new life may look like all glamour on the outside, she says that the work she does can be “fast-paced, challenging, and at times, daunting.” She mentions that NewsNation in Chicago reaches around 75 million homes nationally, so it is important for her to do things right.
“After only working in local news before, the pressure is on. You are in charge of fragile information that can be misconstrued with one misplaced word.”
Although there can be stresses and hardships in the couple’s respective jobs, they have continued to climb the success ladder, setting themselves up for a future to be proud of. On top of that, they have maintained a relationship.
As the inevitable virtual hugs and late-night facetime conversations continue to happen for now, they still look ahead to the idea of eventually living in the same area again.
“We’ve worked long hours and accomplished multiple projects together. We’ve won awards. We’ve helped launch new video and streaming services. It’s time to make new goals for ourselves, “ said Elise. “We’ve hustled hard. We’re due for a slow down- at least for now.”
The Hannah’s have proven that being 200 miles away can never break apart a match made in news.