Step Out on Nothing
How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges
By Byron Pitts
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312577667, 304pp.)
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
List Price: $24.99*
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It was August 25, 2006, my first on-camera studio open for the CBS News broadcast 60 Minutes. Executive Producer Jeff Fager poked his head in the dressing room.” Good luck, Brotha! You’ve come a long way to get here. You’ve earned it.”
…If only he knew. My mind flashed back to elementary school, when a therapist had informed my mother, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Pitts, your son cannot read.”
In Step Out on Nothing, Byron Pitts chronicles his astonishing story of overcoming a childhood filled with obstacles to achieve enormous success in life. Throughout Byron’s difficult youth—his parents separated when he was twelve and his mother worked two jobs to make ends meet—he suffered from a debilitating stutter. But Byron was keeping an even more embarrassing secret: He was also functionally illiterate. For a kid from inner-city Baltimore, it was a recipe for failure.
Pitts turned struggle into strength and overcame both of his impediments. Along the way, a few key people “stepped out on nothing” to make a difference for him—from his mother, who worked tirelessly to raise her kids right and delivered ample amounts of tough love, to his college roommate, who helped Byron practice his vocabulary and speech. Pitts even learns from those who didn’t believe in him, like the college professor who labeled him a failure and told him to drop out of college. Through it all, he persevered, following his steadfast passion. After fifteen years in local television, he landed a job as a correspondent for CBS News in 1998, and went on to become an Emmy Award–winning journalist and a contributing correspondent for 60 Minutes. Not bad for a kid who couldn’t read.
From a challenged youth to a reporting career that has covered 9/11 and Iraq, Pitts’s triumphant and uplifting story will resonate with anyone who has felt like giving up in the face of seemingly insurmountable hardships.
BYRON PITTS was named a contributor to 60 Minutes and chief national correspondent for CBS News in Jan. 2009. Pitts was one of CBS News' lead reporters during the 9/11 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 statue. Other major stories covered by Pitts include the Chicago train wreck in 1999, for which he received a national Emmy Award, Hurricane Katrina, the war in Afghanistan, the military buildup in Kuwait, the Elian Gonzalez story, the Florida Presidential recount, and the refugee crisis in Kosovo. He won recognition as NABJ Journalist of the Year Award in 2002 for his coverage of the 9/11 attacks. He is also the recipient of four Associated Press Awards and six regional Emmy Awards. Pitts graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a B.A. in journalism and speech communication. He lives with his wife in Montclair, N.J.
When CBS correspondent Byron Pitts was 12 years old, he had a debilitating stutter and a terrible secret: he couldn't read. In his new memoir, Step Out On Nothing, Pitts describes how, with faith and family, he overcame illiteracy to become an award-winning correspondent. More at NPR.org
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