Did you know Wilma Pearl Mankiller was the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation? I must admit I had no idea who she was until I sat down to write my first television script as an intern at WCJB in my hometown of Gainesville, Florida. The editor of that script was someone I had watched on the news for years-- main anchor, Paige Beck. As Paige went to town on that script with her red pen, she also praised my effort. I was hooked.
While studying journalism at the University of Florida, my internship turned into a three-year volunteer job. I went to school, worked at The Gap, and spent several nights a week at the station helping out. During my senior year at school, I was reporting and anchoring at WCJB.
My reporting career has taken me to many wonderful places. The beaches of Southwest Florida was my first stop as bureau chief of the Naples newsroom for WBBH and WZVN. The next stop was a place I never thought I'd even visit in my life: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During my interview at WTMJ, I expressed a concern about the cold weather in Wisconsin, being a lifelong Florida boy. I remember the news director said, "It's not that bad." Well, the cold was that bad, but the people of Milwaukee were so wonderful that it made the cold bearable.
I joined WTTG in the spring of 2002. I can still remember the day I was assigned to do a live report from the front lawn of the White House. I remember thinking, I bet Mom and Dad would be proud, and maybe even Paige Beck.
Please say hello or let me know about a story you'd like us to do.