Written by Mariana Thomas — Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2023
In this episode of Chapter's Legacy Podcast, Mariana Thomas interviews David Crabtree, CEO of PBS North Carolina, talks about the stories and ideals that made him who he is today.
David Crabtree, CEO of PBS North Carolina, talks about the stories and ideals that made him who he is today.
In the beginning of the episode, David tells us about his grandfather, who grew up in a racist environment in the south. It would've been easy for his grandfather to espouse the prejudicial views of the people around him, but he never did. He treated people like people, regardless of their skin color, doing simple things like bailing someone out of jail, giving extra money to someone who needed groceries — never asking questions, only desiring to help.
David's journey into journalism started with a strict English teacher who encouraged him to write. After going through a traumatic divorce at 32, he decided it was his chance to start over and pursue his dream of broadcast journalism. He didn't mind starting at the very bottom as long as it helped him get his foot in the door. Pretty soon, he started moving up the career ladder and spent three decades at the same station.
The heart of the episode comes from David's recounting of the stories that impacted him the most. In 1995, he interviewed death row inmates and found they did not fit his preconceptions of what a death row inmate would be like. These experiences reminded him to see the humanity in everyone that he interviews. Beyond the logistical emergencies of his day-to-day, his job can help to integrate more kindness in the world.
[25:33] “You never know, when you show up for a story, what you’re going to find. And if you show up with your mind made up, you will miss the essence of what’s there. We often, as reporters go in thinking, ‘okay, here’s what I’m covering today. Let me tell the story in 90 seconds’ and I go on to the next thing. I did that for years. There’s no telling how many great stories I missed by not listening thoroughly.”