The laid-back new guy with the big smile and cool designer glasses broke the newscaster mold when he moved from San Diego to cover metro for WJLA-TV ABC-7 News/NewsChannel 8 a year and a half ago. But don’t be fooled. Beyond the funky, earnest on-air charm is one intrepid reporter – and he’s got four Emmys to prove it.
SO, ARE YOU A SOCAL SURFER DUDE?
I’m an awful surfer. It’s better for everyone if I never get in the water.
YOUR SPIKED HAIR REALLY SET YOU APART FROM OTHER ON-AIR REPORTERS HERE. WHAT HAPPENED?
My bosses asked me to tweak it a bit. And I can’t wear flip-flops to work! Back in San Diego they would pan down on my feet and have fun with it. That was the culture there.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WASHINGTON?
Everyone is up on everything that is going on in the world.
TELL ME ABOUT THE “BEST REPORTER” EMMYS YOU WON IN CALIFORNIA
I got my first for live coverage of a brush fire, dangerously high surf and the California State Games. Another was for a piece about extreme skateboarding. I also recieved awards for stories about American sex offenders hiding in Mexico and others living inside a CAlifornia state hospital.
WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
A job where I don’t have fun anymore. Also having to part my hair, and climates where I can’t wear flip-flops.
MOST DIFFICULT ASSIGNMENT HERE SO FAR?
Waiting in the hall where they had gathered the families of the 32 Virginia Tech shooting victims. I heard the sobbing, felt the horror and shared their sense of loss – that’s when the tragedy really hit me. It was also hard covering 37 military funerals of people who didn’t make it back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH ALL THAT?
You learn to compartmentalize. My job is to tell the story.
Photography Beth Farnstrom