The Eric Factor: What to learn from the longest-running news anchor in history

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It’s a rarity these days to have someone stick around at one job for more than a decade. Looking around the newsroom here, I’m honored to have several coworkers who’ve done that. Their jobs aren’t just to inform the public, they set the example for those gaining the experience here at the TV station.

But in Houston, one news anchor has been delivering the news on television for half a century. And if you’re a news anchor who’s delivered the news for more than 50 years at the same television station, you get in the Guinness Book of World Records! That’s Dave Ward.

On Tuesday, he put down the microphone and walked away from the news desk after a lifetime of presenting the news. Think of how much news happened within 50 years of history! I didn’t have the opportunity to watch him much, only when I worked in the neighboring television market early in my career. But in this day and age of talking heads on television and the internet, Dave Ward represents something different.

And his example should inspire every journalist to be better.

Dave Ward never got caught up in scandal and never took his eye off the ball. KTRK has consistently been the top-rated television station in the country’s tenth largest market. And seekers of information gravitate to the people they know.

That’s why broadcast news works. You, the viewer, need to know what’s happening in the world and you turn to the people you know and trust. The people who would have your back if you needed it. That only happens when we raise the bar and give more than we take. When we help other people in need? When we prove to you we’re working just as hard as you are? Only then, should you trust us. That’s what the best broadcasters do. And you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

That’s what you learn from a broadcast veteran like Dave Ward. It’s no secret that the most valuable people will leave a lasting legacy when they move on. This man set the example and while it seems daunting, I hope I am revered half as much as he is whenever I step down. And I hope my fellow broadcasters will feel the same way.

In an emotional farewell speech, Dave ended the broadcast with his signature “Good evening, friends,” followed with a standing ovation which is just what he deserved.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen