With more than four decades of experience in the business, veteran broadcast journalist and University of Southern Mississippi graduate Chuck Scarborough says the compelling stories about the everyday triumphs and tragedies that shape the news still motivate him.
“It’s just an exciting profession if you pay attention and are engaged in the world,” said Scarborough, an Emmy winner and longtime news anchor for WNBC-TV in New York. “Why wouldn’t you want to keep your hand in it?”
Scarborough returned to the university’s Hattiesburg campus Oct. 24 to be inducted into the School of Mass Communication and Journalism’s Hall of Fame. He shared memories and reflected on his long career with former colleagues and Southern Miss faculty and students in the school’s symposium, titled “A Legend Comes Home: Honoring Chuck Scarborough.”
Scarborough said after so many years as a journalist, “you sometimes think you’ve heard and seen it all,” but then along comes a story that changes that mindset. One of those, and the one he considers the most important he’s ever covered, is the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The impact of that story continues to this day, he said. “On a balance scale, nothing compares to it (in his career).”
For the students attending the symposium he offered advice for success, but on one point he was most adamant. “Be yourself,” he said. “Just be yourself.”
Scarborough’s love for his work came across to broadcast journalism student Tyler Gibson, a senior from Jackson, Miss. who attended the symposium. “I’m really happy I got to meet and hear from someone who’s had such an outstanding career in the profession,” Gibson said.
“His advice is something students really need to hear, and the way he tells his stories, you can tell he has a passion for what he does. That really stood out.”
Scarborough said being included in the school’s Hall of Fame with other “accomplished and special people” who have contributed to the field is a great honor. “This (induction) isn’t so much a testament to the accomplishments of my career, but to the faculty and staff of this university who helped make it possible,” he said.
Dr. Chris Campbell, director of the school, said Scarborough is arguably one of the university’s most accomplished and recognizable alums. “He’s certainly had an impressive, remarkable career and continues to be a shining star in the world of broadcast journalism,” Campbell said.
For information about the Southern Miss School of Mass Communication and Journalism, online visit www.usm.edu/mcj.