The first time I was shot at I was at home one night sitting at my desk. The bullet missed me by five feet.
I kept it all these years to remind me of why I became a journalist. It’s simple really: the truth matters. And it matters so much that some people will try to kill you to stop you from telling it.
I'd been doing exclusive stories on the arrest of a murderous drug kingpin, and police speculated that someone in his crew had tried to take me out. But all they did was strengthen my commitment to my career.
For more than thirty years now, I've been fortunate to cover some of the biggest stories in a generation. The death of little JonBenet Ramsey; the Susan Smith drownings; the Ray Lewis murder trial; the Olympic Park bombing; the Mark Barton massacre; The Great Recession and thousands upon thousands of others.
I've covered presidents and serial killers. People who lived in boxes. People who lived in mansions. I’ve interviewed the Governor at the capitol during the day and reported from a plane crash in the woods that night. And I’ve always had a knack for scoring the Big Interview. That’s because people know, from my longevity and my body of work, that I’m a truth-teller.
I like to think that I have a sharp eye for news even before it becomes news, like the reports I did predicting the mortgage meltdown years before it happened. Those were stories I literally had to fight for in the newsroom, because no one believed the sky was falling. Until it did. We covered it first. Before it happened.
I've chased and been chased by tornadoes (do you know what a tree sounds like when it snaps? I do.) I changed a flat tire in a hurricane and paddled through flood waters to get to victims. And on no less than four separate occasions, my photographer and I saved a life while covering the news.
I've been honored to win my share of awards, but that has never been an incentive for me in this profession. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times I have submitted an entry. My value as a journalist is my equity in the markets where I’ve worked... where my face is my byline; and I’m recognized as someone you trust enough to open your door to. There is no bigger accolade than that.