Tune in to CBS on any newscast or "60 Minutes" show and viewers might see Byron Pitts reporting on stories of national or international importance.
The CBS News chief national correspondent and "60 Minutes" contributing correspondent will speak Monday, April 9, at Bismarck State College about overcoming obstacles and thriving in a global society.
"A Conversation with Byron Pitts" takes place at 7 p.m. in BSC's Sidney J. Lee Auditorium in Schafer Hall. A reception and book signing follows the free presentation sponsored by the BSC Embracing Diversity Committee.
Pitts has risen to the top echelons of news reporting. He has received two national Emmy awards, six regional Emmy awards, four Associated Press awards, and a National Association of Black Journalists award. But what he will be talking about is how his life could easily have been something much less. His memoir, "Step Out on Nothing: How Family and Faith Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges" (2009), shows how key people emerged from nowhere to set him straight.
Raised by a single mother in a working class neighborhood of Baltimore, Pitts was illiterate until age 12 and had a persistent stutter. He wanted to play football, but his mother insisted he earn B grades or better in order to play. With that focus, Pitts learned to read and went on to graduate from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and speech communication. He overcame his odds and disability in part through encouragement and support from his college roommate and a professor.
Pitts began his broadcast career in 1983 as weekend sports anchor for WNCT-TV in Greenville, N.C. A year later, he started reporting for a station in Virginia, moving into the larger markets in Orlando, Tampa, Boston and Atlanta. Pitts joined CBS News in 1996. He was named CBS News correspondent in 1998, reporting in the Miami and Atlanta bureaus before moving to New York City in 2001. He has been a national correspondent since 2006 and was named to his current positions in 2009, realizing a life-long goal to be a "60 Minutes" contributing correspondent.
One of his national Emmy awards derived from his work as a lead reporter during the 9/11 attacks. He was later tapped to be a war correspondent, reporting on the invasion of Iraq, war in Afghanistan and military buildup in Kuwait. Pitts also played an integral role reporting Hurricane Katrina, the Elian Gonzalez story, mudslides in Central America, and the Florida presidential election recount.
About Bismarck State College Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities. For more information visit www.bismarckstate.edu.