Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Best CSI Franchise

I thought the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was good. The show grabbed my attention because it's set in Las Vegas and I loved the way the producers took you through the murder investigation process. Then came the first spinoff-- CSI: Miami. I can't even tell you what night the original airs, now. CSI: Miami is as hott as South Beach. David Caruso is da bomb! The entire cast is da bomb! And, they all drive HUMMERS to boot!

Oh, Good Evening!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

An Unexpected Honor

Two weeks ago, I got an email from the Vice President of Print of the National Association of Black Journalists asking if I would be attending the Region III Conference in Montgomery, Alabama March 8-10. Normally, my response would have been, "of course I'll be there." I attended my first regional in 1994 and have only missed the '95 meeting since then. Unfortunately, I had to inform Ernie Suggs that I would not be able to attend this year's event due to the relaunching of WACH FOX News at Ten, the newscast of which I serve as anchor and managing editor.

Thinking that Vice President Suggs was looking for some assistance with the conference, I asked if there was something I could do from afar. His response floored me. He informed me that I was a finalist for induction into the Region III Hall of Fame for my service to the former Region IV. (Region IV became Region III in 2006 after NABJ reorganized.) I later learned that I had, in fact, been selected for induction on Saturday, March 10th. The news truly stunned me. Something my friends and colleagues don't understand.

I became a broadcast journalist while in high school when I began participating in the Teen Profile program in Detroit, Michigan. The nation's first black-owned television produced the program which was created and administered by Dr. Mary Wilks, a co-worker and friend of my father's in the Detroit Public School system. David Berg, one of my former middle school teachers, introduced me to the program during my sophomore year in high school. From there, I went to the U. S. Naval Academy where I got involved with the Brigade Line program as an extra-curricular activity. Brigade Line was produced bi-weekly as a 7-minute news magazine televised on the Academy's closed circuit channel. When I transferred to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I created and produced a cable program called Campus Perspectives. The success of that program, coupled with my internship at WBRZ-TV, prompted that station's then-news director, John Spain, to give me my first job as a weekend producer and assignment editor in 1987. I was still in school at the time. Since then, I also have worked in Las Vegas, Nevada (KVBC-TV) as a sports anchor and reporter; in Jackson, Mississippi (Love Communications and WAPT-TV) as a news anchor and reporter; and in Columbia, South Carolina (WACH-TV) as a news anchor and managing editor.

I love the Southeast! Fifteen of my nearly 20 years as a professional broadcast journalist have been spent in this region of the country. Though every stop along the way has been special in my career, it's my time in Mississippi and South Carolina that hold special prominence in my heart, particularly the South Carolina years because of the opportunity I had to serve in the National Association of Black Journalists' leadership.

Since 1997, I have had the honor and pleasure of serving three years as a regional deputy director, two years as a regional director, two years as chairman of the national council of presidents, and two years as national vice president of broadcast. Also, I twice had the honor of running for national president, though the campaigns were unsuccessful. While each of those positions provided me with wonderful challenges and opportunities to grow professionally, the most fulfilling work I've done has been with the annual NABJ Broadcast Short Course at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. Having the opportunity to help develop the next generation of broadcast journalists has been exciting and satisfying.

Having the opportunity and privilege of holding leadership positions within NABJ and help chart the organization's future has been both invigorating and exhausting. But at no time did I ever think that my work would lead to induction to a hall of fame.

No words can adequately express my emotions as I accept this honor. I recall closing my final regional conference as director in Raleigh, North Carolina. One of my deputies and the local conference chair surprised me with a presentation that nearly brought me to tears. On that Sunday morning, as we all prepared to go our separate ways, I accepted their gift with words of gratitude and and the message that it was not expected or necessary. I said then and I say now, I have never approached my service to NABJ and its many members based on what I would get out of the experience. My service has always been rooted in wanting to help others. The needs of NABJ often took priority over my personal needs and responsibilities. "I do what I do because of you," I told the members attending the gospel brunch that morning in 2001. "I do what I do because I love this organization and I love you." Those words still apply today.

I am truly humbled to be considered worthy of the Region III Hall of Fame by my peers. To join the ranks of Chuck Stone, Sidmel Estes-Sumpter, Vic Carter, Herb Frazier, Jimmie Gates, Condace Pressley, Angela Robinson, and other regional and national legends is, quite simply, overwhelming. I am blessed to have the love and support of so many people on this journey that is my career. To all who have played a role in my success, I can only say thank you. May you continue to enjoy all of God's favor as we all continue to do the important work we've been called upon to do.