Barry Bernson's farewell speech - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Barry Bernson's farewell speech

When I started working for a daily newspaper in 1964, I had no intention of going into radio news. But I did.

And when I came to Louisville for a radio job in 1969, I had no intention of going into television. But I did.

Back then, we wrote with typewriters and carbon paper; on-air people were almost exclusively white men; moving pictures had only recently advanced from black-and-white to color film; the TV stations you could watch numbered exactly three, and they all went off the air at midnight with the Star-Spangled Banner.

Now, we have hundreds of choices, video is digital, and the faces of newspeople have become considerably more diverse in race and gender.

Oh, there have been changes. Don't get me started talking about Facebook and Twitter.

But one thing remains the same: local TV news still means something to people. We still search out stories that interest and impact the viewer, and tell those stories with pictures and words.

I have been blessed for nearly 40 years with the special assignment to collect extraordinary ordinary people -- human interest stories, following in the footsteps of my hero, the late Charles Kuralt, whose "On the Road" reports glorified network TV news for many years.

Someone decided about 20 years ago that a quirky feature reporter could put on a suit and necktie, and anchor morning news. I still feel out of position, like a left-fielder who's been moved to first base, but you have forgiven me and watched the newscasts I've been on, so I'm grateful.

Almost eight years ago, WDRB asked me to help grow the audience on this program, so thanks to you for growing.

It has been great fun. I have been lucky to gather stories with some great photographers and editors, both here and in Chicago. I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this program, in this room, with people whose names and faces you'll never know: Producers and directors and technicians and engineers too numerous to mention.

Most of all, I wish you, at some point in your life, the profound pleasure of working next to someone like Candyce Clifft -- who gets my award for combining work and life every day. She is an inspiration.

So it is time for us to part, you and I. And time for a confession: I will not miss getting up at 2:30 a.m.

Saying goodbye to viewers, as Mr. Kuralt put it, is like saying goodbye to old friends; thank you for making me feel that way. But as Linda Ellerbee reminded us: after all, it's only television.

I'll still pop up on your TV occasionally: a Bernson's Corner report here, filling in as an anchor there; I'll continue to narrate audio books; who knows -- I might even have a book in me, if I can find enough words.

Ah, words. The playwright Tom Stoppard said what I want to say:

"Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little."

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