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Byron Pitts
Byron Pitts 2011.jpg
Pitts in 2011
Born (1960-10-21) October 21, 1960 (age 58)
EducationOhio Wesleyan University
OccupationTelevision journalist
Years active1983–present
Notable credit(s)
CBS Evening News
60 Minutes
ChildrenChristiani Pitts, Brittni Pitts, Angela Pitts

Byron Pitts (born October 21, 1960) is an American journalist and author working for ABC News.[1] As of 2018, he is a co-anchor of Nightline.[citation needed] Until 2013, he served as a chief national correspondent for The CBS Evening News and a contributor to the newsmagazine 60 Minutes.[citation needed] Examples of major stories he has covered are the September 11, 2001 attacks and Iraq.[citation needed]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Byron Pitts - Personal Story
  • ✪ ABC News' Byron Pitts at Stevenson University Spring Commencement
  • ✪ Inside OSU - Byron Pitts Interview


You have a fascinating story and I'll review for our viewers a capsule of your background. You grew up in a tough neighborhood, single mom family in Baltimore. Had a stuttering problem growing up, and somehow ended up as an award winning reporter nationwide, international reporter for CBS Thats a pretty quick way to state your journey, but take us through a little bit of your experience because its a life that we'd like to see a lot of young people. I think it speaks to what's so wonderful about this great nation we live in. That everything is possible. I was raised by a single parent, working class family, like many of your students. How many siblings did you have? I have an older brother and sister, I was the youngest. Someone asked my mother once, years later, how was she able to send 3 kids to college? She said it was simple. You go to college or I'll beat you to death. She's an old-school southern woman. I didn't learn to read 'til I was 12. I stuttered until my junior year in college. Did they just pass you along in school? Yeah, back before social promotions had a name, that's what was going on. I went to the same school my older brother and sister went to and they were both strong students. My mother despite working multiple jobs was active so she was known around the school. It was assumed I was a good student and was quiet. Fortunately I was a good athlete, so my reputation in school was based on my athletic ability. What did you do? I played football, wrestled and ran track. Now I never could have played ball at this great university. Do you have any eligibility left? You might take me on? No, no. You were illiterate in the 6th grade? Yeah, and I started failing math so they tested me to see why I was doing so poorly in math, come to find I couldn't read the directions because I'd been faking it. I was also blessed with a good memory so I could memorize projects. Once math became more complicated with directions and more assignments were based on what happened in class as opposed to homework, I was exposed as being functionally illiterate. Which was a painful point for me and my family. In the book, Step out on nothing. I talk about the importance of family, importance of faith, importance of working hard, because of my mother's undying optimism, her faith, and her willingness to work hard with me. I got the help that I needed. One of the reasons that i'm a journalist today is that I know the value of words, because of my stutter. Being a stutterer is like being an alcoholic, you never get over it, you learn to manage it. So i'm still a stutterer, I've just learned to manage it. Do you ever stutter anymore? I've never on national TV but I have on local TV. I know know what my triggers are, I can't get worn down, I can't get angry or nervous. Which in places like Afghanistan can be tough. This subject has risen in the consciousness of the King's Speech. I was ignorant about the causes of stuttering, I guess there he was left handed and they made him right handed and things like that. Is there any evidence that contributes to stuttering? The science at this point thinks its an electronic issue. There's a neurological connection between your brain and your speech, and it goes offline for a moment when you speak. So the thing about left handed or right, I went to Catholic school and was forced to write right handed. Those aren't directly connected with stuttering, but there is a disconnect. There's research going on now to try and find out if there is a DNA fiber that causes it. Because there are over 3 million stutterers in the US. Did any of your kids stutter? No, my mother is a stutterer, not as severe as mine, my sister is also a stutterer. How did you get out of it? What kind of therapy? Fortunately there are a lot of resources in every state that can provide. They can now take a child as young as 2 or 3 years old and teach them to manage their stutter. In my case there werent resources available. It wasn't 'til I got to college and I had a wonderful old-school, kind of a gruff guy. He recognized the signs of my stutter. One of the benefits of being a stutterer is it forces you to think before you speak. At that point I was struggling with my stutter, if you asked me a question it would take me a long time to answer. He recognized my my issue, he worked with me. He would have me speak with pencils in my mouth, and read the news- paper, and that would force me to focus on the feel of words. Or he'd have me read Shakespeare Backward. So i'd focus on the sound of words. Then we made a list of words I struggle with This is when you are 13? No, this was when I was a junior in college. I was a stutterer until my junior year of college. Because I played football and wrestled in college I was known more as an athlete than anything else. That was at Ohio Wesleyan? Yes sir, small division 3 school about 2400 students, small methodist school. He helped me manage my stutter and since that time i've thought of meeting with a speech pathologist because life gets in the way sometimes There are still words that I avoid. I work out 5 or 6 times a week not for vanity reasons but because I know how important it is to me to be rested as possible when going places. Because if I go someplace, like Afghanistan, I may not sleep for 2 or 3 days. I have to be as physically fit to not get worn down. Because if I do I tend to stutter. I understand with the athletic talent how you got through college on a scholarship. To go from that to broadcast journalism seems to be quite a leap. Because of my early issues with literacy I knew the power of words. I fell in love with words. Most kids in middle school, boys are beginning to look at girls. I read my first book, Old Man and The Sea, and I was almost in high school. The joy and how the world opened up to me. I loved words by the time I went to college when I learned to manage my stutter. I fell in love with the sound of words and being able to express yourself. As a journalist, my job is to give voice to the voiceless, I know what it is to be voiceless. What a blessing it is. My wife, a staff educated woman who I married, has a wonderful saying she says, tell me god aint good, he took a boy who couldn't read and put him on 60 Minutes. There are so many people who have stories like mine. All of us have struggled in our life and if you hear most people's backstory you'll hear a story of people who have been able to manage their struggle to go forward and achieve their dreams. I'm certainly living my dream working at 60 Minutes at CBS. This is a delight, i've really enjoyed your work on 60 Minutes and I wanna give you a token of appreciation for coming to Oklahoma. This is an OSU tie, the official tie and it has Pistol Pete who was a real person, Frank Eaton. I gotta picture of him on my buffet. Its a real collector's item and one of the reasons I wanted to give you that is because I saw the piece you did for CBS Sunday Morning where you were interviewed about your penchant for writing thank you notes, and that you write them at the drop of a hat. Tell us about that because I happen to agree with you. It comes from my mother who raised me to believe that you should always treat people the way you want to be treated. And I think that telling somebody thank you, I tell young people all the time "your degree may say one thing, you may be so smart or be the best looking person on campus but if you don't have manners and you aren't polite. I've discovered that being kind will get you so much further than other things will. When people are kind enough to give me their time, and as often as I see folks in difficult points in their life. I just want to say thank you. To know that someone sat down and penned a note that says thank you. I think that is a nice gesture.

Early life

Pitts was born October 21, 1960, to Clarice and William Pitts[2] in Baltimore, Maryland.[3] He grew up in a working-class neighborhood, raised by a single mother.[4] In his memoir, Pitts discussed that he had a debilitating stutter as a child and was "functionally illiterate" until about age 12. He attended Archbishop Curley High School, an all-boys Catholic high school in Baltimore. He went on to Ohio Wesleyan University, but spent summers in Apex, North Carolina.[5] He graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Journalism and Speech Communication.


Pitts has always wanted to be a journalist. It was his goal, since he was 18 years old, to be a correspondent on the CBS show 60 Minutes.[5] He interned at WTVD in Durham, North Carolina. After graduation, he bounced around to various television stations on the East Coast. During 1983-84, he reported and served as weekend sports anchor at WNCT-TV in Greenville, N.C. He was a military reporter for WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia (1984–86) and a reporter for WESH-TV Orlando (1986–88). He moved across the Florida peninsula to Tampa to be a reporter and substitute anchor for WFLA-TV (1988–89). After a brief stint there, he moved to Boston as a special assignment reporter for WCVB-TV (1989–94). His last local job was as a general assignment reporter for WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia(1994–96).

Pitts then moved to Washington, D.C. as a correspondent for CBS Newspath, the 24-hour affiliate news service of CBS News (1997–98). He was named a CBS News correspondent in May 1998, and was based in the Miami (1998–99) and Atlanta (1999–2001) bureaus and eventually New York City in January 2001.

Pitts was one of CBS News' lead reporters during the September 11 attacks and won a national Emmy Award for his coverage. As an embedded reporter covering the Iraq War, he was recognized for his work under fire within minutes of the fall of the Saddam Hussein statue. Other major stories covered by Pitts include Hurricane Katrina, the war in Afghanistan, the military buildup in Kuwait, the Florida fires, the Elian Gonzalez story, the Florida Presidential recount, the mudslides in Central America and the refugee crisis in Kosovo.

Pitts other awards include a national Emmy Award for his coverage of the Chicago train wreck in 1999 and a National Association of Black Journalists Award (2002). He is also the recipient of four Associated Press Awards and six regional Emmy Awards.

He released his memoir, Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges, September 29, 2009.[citation needed]

Pitts departed CBS News in March 2013 and currently works at ABC News.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Guthrie, Marisa. "Correspondent Byron Pitts Departing CBS News for ABC News". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Byron Pitts Found Faith To 'Step Out On Nothing'". NPR. November 16, 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  3. ^ "Byron Pitts". CBS News. 2002-10-09. Archived from the original on September 14, 2006. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  4. ^ "Byron Pitts". Greater Talent Network Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  5. ^ a b Menconi, David "How Byron Pitts came out on top". News Observer. December 17, 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
This page was last edited on 24 December 2018, at 03:01
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