EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU)— It’s a bittersweet day for the Eyewitness News family. Our most veteran photojournalist, on staff, is retiring.
For the past 44 years, Mark Albrecht has been the man behind the camera, the guy with the gear covering stories in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. When he arrived at Eyewitness News in 1978 as a 22-year-old, he turned a part-time job into a full-time career.
“Loved every minute of it except when I was angry as heck,” said Albrecht.
“But that didn’t happen too often, right?” Hiller asked.
“No!” Albrecht laughs.
“There’s a lot of emotion in what we do but it’s all, you know, if it’s funneled into the right spot I think it works,” Albrecht explained.
Work is nothing Albrecht ever shied away from, no matter the hour of the day or night, or where the story would take him.
“That’s me in Beijing, China. Tiananmen Square,” he said.
In 1984, it meant a nearly month-long assignment in China. He manned the camera to cover the Wyoming Seminary Varsity Soccer squad becoming the first U.S. High School team to compete against their Chinese counterparts.
“Just the greatest opportunity ever and it was like the stars aligned,” Albrecht explained.
He’s seen it all, including the technological changes to his job.
“We went from video news film. This was three minutes. You had to shoot the whole story with three minutes of roll time. Then it was a big deal we went to 15 or 20 or 30-minute tapes now to almost two hours on just an SD card,” Albrecht told Hiller.
While fond of the old days in television news, he doesn’t miss the old gear. Not one bit.
“The gear was really heavy. I mean I carried a 25-pound camera. We wore a 30-pound belt and then there was a 15-pound tape recorder. I don’t know how only my feet are falling apart,” Albrecht joked.
Sometimes, he put down his camera and got in front of it like in the early 1980s at the Little League World Series.
John Bendick says, “Is Taiwan the odds on heavy favorite? Let’s tell it like it is guy. You’ve been watching them.”
Albrecht says, “Taiwan looks really hard to touch right now.”
In the early 2000s, he was Captain Mark for a couple of years on the morning newscast. Through the work, he managed to find the fun where he could, especially at the Jamison City Tobacco Spitting Contest.
He thought he was just going to shoot the contest and a parade.
“And they said, ‘Come on. Hop on the float.’ The next thing you know I’m a featured part of the Jamison City Parade,” Albrecht said.
No two work days have been exactly the same which kept Albrecht coming back for more.
“Whether it’s just something going extremely well that you’re not rushed but you’re filling your day and you’re getting a good story or, you know, just surviving at the end of the day, that deep breath when it gets on the air. It’s rewarding, instant gratification is what television has been for me,” Albrecht explained.
And working with more than four decades of reporters.
Andy Mehalshick said, “This guy is passionate about what he does in all seriousness so we’re going to miss you here.” Albrecht says, “Thanks.” Mehalshick says, “We’re going to miss you. We’re going to miss you man.”
He’s made more memories than his cubicle walls can hold. Now, the man from Endicott, New York who became the cameraman at Eyewitness News can finally call it a career.
“I mean, I’m not a Wilkes-Barre boy, but I became one. You know, northeast PA is home for my kids. My wife was from here. It’s amazing to think temporary job,” Albrect joked.
Those of us who have worked with Mark know his passion and knowledge of airplanes.
Today, his lovely wife, Maureen, surprised Mark with a flyover with a banner in tow.
The plane flew over Wilkes-Barre and by our studios congratulating mark on his 44 years with the station.