Up Close with Kurtis Ming | Teen Ink

Up Close with Kurtis Ming

February 15, 2009
By Courtney Jespersen BRONZE, Ripon, California
Courtney Jespersen BRONZE, Ripon, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Talk to CBS 13 reporter Kurtis Ming and I am not sure what will interest you more, his incredible r'sum' and experience in the news industry or the fascinating and oftentimes amusing stories he has to accompany each step of his career.

'I was in catechism,' Ming recalls, comfortably seated in his swiveling black desk chair, his right leg casually placed across his left knee. 'I realized that other than the disaster relief, the people reporting the news had the most important job that day.' After experiencing the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake firsthand, young Kurtis rushed home to listen to the radio. It was this tragic natural disaster which would lay the foundation for his future career.

Now, with thirteen years of experience in the news industry under his belt, Ming reminisces on how it all began this evening of the nineteenth of January. It's nearly 5pm and he has to be on air in a little over an hour, but Kurtis does not seem the least bit antsy or nervous. Instead he dives into yet another one of his fascinating stories.

'There wasn't a journalism class at my high school,' Ming shares of how he prepared for his future career. But that did not stop him. Instead he did everything he could to incorporate his passion into his schooling. He signed up for the yearbook staff, read the daily announcements, and even somehow managed to write an essay in his history class about none other than the history of the news.

Though he has enjoyed the success reaped from his countless long days and years filled with hard work, Ming will be the first to admit this is a 'unique business.' Starting out in a small town, he was a 'one man band,' shooting his own video, writing his own scripts, and editing his own footage. As he has progressed to larger markets though, he has learned to loosen the reigns a little, allowing others to do some of the work he once did alone. Not to mention the challenges of a pressing deadline and the necessary ability to multi-task, news reporting has its fair share of difficulties. Tough economic times and ever-advancing technology place less importance on many journalistic positions. That is where faith and passion come in.

Ming is definitely passionate about everything he does. His blue eyes glisten as he recounts countless stories of knocking on the doors of news stations, simply hoping to talk to a journalist. 'I somehow managed to convince my teacher to let me go off on my own,' he snickers about a school field trip to Reno. Before much time passed, Ming had contacted a former anchor of a Reno station and, in part upon this stranger's advice, flew across the country to attend the renowned Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, dedicated to communication and performing arts.

This current anchor/reporter for the CBS affiliate in Sacramento loves just about everything about his job. More than anything though, he loves meeting 'inspirational people.' Specifically, with his current role as a consumer reporter, he strives daily to 'level the playing field.' It is as he puts it, 'a blessing' to have the ability to help people who are struggling or going through hard times. The people he interviews, those who have just seen their decimated house for the first time after a fire, or those who turn a tragedy in their lives into an opportunity to help others, those are the people whose stories he was born to tell.

As our interview comes to a close, the handsome, tall reporter courteously asks if he has been rambling. Thoroughly intrigued by the wealth of knowledge he has so freely shared with me, I assure him he certainly has not been. 'Okay, now the last question,' I begin as I pose my final query. I inquire about what sort of advice this established journalist has for an aspiring reporter like myself. Ming sits back and pauses to think for a minute before beginning. He then relays the most effective ways to get in the business: talk to as many people as you can, make the most of internships, and always ask lots of questions. Most of all, he reminds me to be persistent in all that I do. As he kindly walks me out to the parking lot, just minutes before he heads back into the studio to be on air, Kurtis reminds me one more time to be 'passionate' and 'persistent' above all else. I smile from ear to ear as I thank him for his time and drive away. I think I may have just experienced the first fascinating story that I will be telling someday to high school students who ask me for advice.

The author's comments:
This interview started out as an assignment for my Honors English class, but I got so much more out of it than just a good grade.

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