HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 9, 2018 – High Point University named Byron Pitts, co-anchor of ABC News’ “Nightline,” as Journalist in Residence.
Pitts is widely known for his thoughtful storytelling, on-the-ground reporting and in-depth interviews. He has covered national news stories and in-depth features for ABC, reporting across the news division on programs such as “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight with David Muir,” “This Week” and “20/20.”
The winner of multiple Emmys and a news reporter with more than 20 years of experience, Pitts joins other global leaders who serve in residence by mentoring HPU students. This includes Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph, HPU’s Entrepreneur in Residence; Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, HPU’s Innovator in Residence; Betty Liu, Founder of Radiate Inc. and NYSE executive vice chairman; and Scott McKain, best-selling author, business consultant and trainer.
Both Pitts and HPU President Nido Qubein are members of The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans and became connected with each other through the association. Pitts will work with students in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication, as well as other majors across campus. In addition to experience as a journalist, Pitts’ story of overcoming a speech impediment to launch his career in television news will inform and inspire students in all disciplines of study.
“Pitts brings incredible knowledge and experience to students in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication,” says Dr. Virginia McDermott, interim dean of the school. “Our growing journalism program educates students on how to approach the 24-hour news cycle in a factual and ethical way, and Pitts has accomplished that through his career. Having access to him along with our faculty provides a strong network of mentors for our students.”
After less than 24 hours at ABC News, Pitts immediately joined the network’s live special coverage of the Boston marathon bombing investigation. Since then, he has also reported live during breaking news events in Baltimore, Dallas and Baton Rouge.
During the 2016 presidential election, Pitts was a key part of the network’s coverage, ranging from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and the first presidential debate, to seven hours of live election night coverage. During the month prior to the election, Pitts traveled around the country for “Inside the Final 30,” which took viewers behind the scenes on the campaign trail and focused on the issues that matter most to Americans. The documentary series also revisited key moments that shaped the direction of the race.
Prior to joining ABC News, Pitts spent 15 years at CBS News, where he served as chief national correspondent for “The CBS Evening News,” appeared regularly on “60 Minutes” and won an Emmy for his coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2002, the National Association of Black Journalists named him Journalist of the Year. His 2009 memoir, “Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges,” chronicled his journey of overcoming illiteracy and a speech impediment to become a journalist. In 2017, Pitts profiled six young adults that overcame hardships in his book “Be the One.”
Pitts began his career at WNCT-TV in Greenville, North Carolina, where he covered local news and served as weekend sports anchor. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1982, where he studied journalism and speech communication. He is a native of Baltimore and currently lives in New York City.