“I grew up on the West Bank of New Orleans. In high school, I planned on owning my own business to work my own hours and make a lot of money. My four other siblings are in the medical and engineer fields. Then there is me, a natural storyteller with a love for people and details. God lead me into TV news instead of business.
My first on-air reporter job was at a station in Alexandria, Louisiana. My first years were rough, but I am learning not to be ashamed of this part of my story. I worked at the station for one month and six days and quit. I was miserable and depressed. I didn’t think this business was for me so I started doing social media for a non-profit in New Orleans. I wasn’t passionate and I was fired. I was 22 and searching for what I was supposed to do with my life. Why am I here? I have struggled through depressive states and that was one of them. But I am learning the work I need to do and steps I need to take to get through dark times.
I was still passionate about news and gave it another try. I was hired in Lafayette and went up the ranks until I was promoted to 9 p.m. anchor. In Lafayette, I made $23,000 a year and made it through by the grace of God. The reality of televisions journalism is you have to look good and wear clothes that look good, even if you can’t afford to look good. There were days I barely had enough to eat. In this industry, you start in the small markets and keep moving up to make more money. I started reporting at Fox 10 in Mobile in 2017.
When I got to Mobile, my goal was to be good and then get hired at a station in New Orleans as fast as possible. My dad is a pastor there and I go home every weekend to help him. But my career path went a different way. I have grown as a man and as an adult in Mobile and learned what I will and won’t put up with. I learned how to go into the community and build relationships that have been everything.
Mobile has better journalism than it realizes. Reporters for radio, print, TV and blogs are all giving something different. It is an art and a noble calling. The beauty of journalism is my story will never be the same as yours. Our job is to be watchdogs and give a voice to the voiceless. We have to cover the news of the day, but my goal in Mobile has been to find the human side of every story. Feature stories about who people are and what they do are my favorites and I hope they are told in a creative way that makes the viewer feel something. The limitation of television is the story has to be told in less than two minutes.
Television reporting is fast-paced and the clock is always ticking. When I get up in the morning, I don’t know what my day is going to be. We have 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. editorial meetings where every reporter is responsible to pitch at least three stories. But when you have a Steve Alexander who has 30 ideas, you have to do more. The producers and managers pick and assign the stories and the reporters start making phone calls and doing research. TV reporters are now multimedia journalists expected to do more, which means more pressure. If we aren’t assigned a photographer, we shoot the interview and the B-roll. We edit, put the story together, and type it out. Often finishing just in time to go live. Keeping that pace every day is a tough grind that wears you down.
The business has changed since I started in 2013. Social media gives everyone a microphone and a platform. People quickly criticize the media even when they don’t have all of the facts. They jump in on fake news, but we are trying our hardest to tell stories and the truth. We would like to just cover the good stories and everything be rainbows and marshmallows, but people want to know what is happening in their neighborhoods. That includes crime, shootings, or fires.
Friday was my last day at Fox 10. I am moving to Birmingham to be the traffic anchor and co-host of the last hour Good Day Alabama for WBRC, the Fox station there. I am excited about moving to a bigger market and the next step in my career. It was time for a change and I believe God made the next step of my path clear. I am excited about learning how to anchor in the top market in Alabama on the top morning show. But there is also some fear because I don’t know anyone in Birmingham and I am starting completely over.
I start my new job next week but it will be good to have this week off and finally go to the beach. I haven’t been to the beach while I have lived here except to work. I am excited about the future, but I am so grateful for the lessons I learned and the people I met during my time in Mobile.”