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I’ve finally made it. When I set out on my journalistic journey many decades ago, my goal was to work in television. And now I do.
I joined WGHP’s Murrow Award-winning digital team, working in the nerve center of what the Radio Television News Directors have judged to be the best local TV news operation in North and South Carolina.
So we can set aside all those years as editor, reporter, columnist and opinion maker at a variety of news organizations in five states and render the journey as accomplished.
Only when that journey began the idea was more like Bob Costas, to describe sports events on camera. Now there are cameras in sight, but they aren’t aimed at me – which reinforces why opportunities in print journalism lured me from my original ambition. I had a face for radio (and not even a voice for that).
My path, then, was through subjects and verbs typed onto paper and screens and delivered to you with as much commitment to truth and excellence as I possibly could muster.
That effort was simple: If I published words on pages I controlled, I believed the facts to be true and the mission to be pure. That won’t change in this digital/TV world that has welcomed me.
The shakeups in the news business cast me on an unsteady and humbling course, but I remain a journalist of generations in development who at his essence is a committed truth-teller doing the best my flawed humanity allows.
That began when at 16 when, as a high school student in my native Kentucky, I was writing about sports for a weekly newspaper. I attended the University of Southern Mississippi with that goal of becoming a broadcaster, but then they turned on the lights and said action.
Truth be known, I had wanted to be an athlete and wasn’t all that athletic, but my passion led me to newspapers in Mississippi and in Orlando, Fla., where I worked for more than a quarter century and left behind courtside perches for more serious responsibilities. I served as editor at outposts in Kentucky, in North Carolina and in Virginia.
I met my wife when she was a reporter in Orlando, though she didn’t work directly for me. Then as the executive producer for digital at WGHP, she led the most trafficked site in North Carolina and was given a bigger role at our parent company, Nexstar. She actually created the path for my new role, even I don’t work for her. Symmetry, of sorts.
I’m the father of four and the grandfather of four. I am the eldest of three brothers and grew up on a dairy and tobacco farm. My parents and grandparents were avid readers and information consumers.
I was raised a Southern Baptist and have been both a Presbyterian and a nondenominational Protestant. I am a believer blemished by life’s choices. People can’t believe I’ve never tasted beer, but I like brown liquor and red wine.
I grew from a Southern society of ignorance and try daily to overcome that. I don’t abide racism, narcissism, dishonesty, stupidity or driving slow in the left lane.
I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican, neither a liberal nor a conservative. I have voted for people all along those lines. I mainly prefer people to treat each other with respect and try to do right. I believe politics separates good people from good ideas, and never has that been truer than today.
You can be sure that my vaccination has been boosted. I wear a mask religiously, and I avoid crowds – and, now, TV cameras.