Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from William Pitts, a reporter/blogger for 12News, KPNX-TV. He’s got a great story!
William, time to share:
I grew up in the White Mountains community of Greer, a town of 83 people. Not many can say that.
My parents ran a cabin rental business in Greer for a few years. It’s now a private home, but when my parents had it, it was called River’s Edge Resort. Looking back, it was an amazing place to grow up, with lakes and trails and elk in the front yard.
I learned to ski at Sunrise Ski Resort and was on the Sunrise Ski Team for years. I spent every weekend careening down the hill at top speed. I learned to fly fish, boat, ride horses and rock climb. We lived 30 miles from my nearest friend in town, so hanging out wasn’t really possible without a lot of planning.
I went to middle and high school at Round Valley (Go Elks) and it’s where I got my first job in journalism. It was called The Observer and it was the largest two- county newspaper in the area. I came on as a “teen reporter," which was a position hired every year for a senior in high school. I was 16 when I was hired and quickly became the senior staff reporter and assistant editor.
Believe it or not, I was perfectly happy with print journalism and never really thought I could do TV. But after high school (and after initially deciding I was going to a different school to the South), I decided to go for it and see if I could make TV work.
After high school, I went to Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism where I won the prestigious Hearst National Journalism Championship for Radio Reporting...basically a college Pulitzer. And I actually interned at 12 News in college. That internship would eventually be my way back to the Valley. But radio wasn’t where I wanted to stay and I had a job out of college in Washington. First job, KEPR-TV in Pasco, Wash. After three years I jumped to KREM-TV in Spokane, Wash., before finally coming home to Arizona and 12 News.
TOP 3 STORIES: I’ve become sort of a wildfire junkie. I started with the Wallow Fire, the biggest and most destructive, and one that also threatened my old hometowns up north. I was literally the last civilian out of Round Valley when they evacuated. I wouldn’t come home for two weeks.
By far the most rewarding was a special called Common Ground, which presented the story of two families with something in common and then brought them together. It’s won national awards and we created a PSA campaign from it. I don’t want to give away the secret, but you can watch it here.
And finally, I did a story with the parents of a soldier who suffered from PTSD but couldn’t get any help from the Phoenix VA. Unfortunately, he took his own life while waiting for help, but the suicide note he wrote helped spark major changes at the Phoenix VA.
When I’m not working you can find me and my wife chasing after our four year old (who’s Instagram famous as #dailybaby), and hunting for new restaurants.