Student Media co-hosts Byron Pitts visit as part of 2016 MLK activities

Kai and PittsNC State Student Media partnered with the African American Cultural Center and others to host ABC “Nightline” co-anchor Byron Pitts on campus Monday, Jan. 11.

Pitts, a former correspondent for “60 Minutes” who has earned multiple national Emmy awards for his work, visited NC State as part of the university’s 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.  In addition to Student Media and the AACC, hosts for Pitts’ NC State visit included the Office of the Provost, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the University Scholars Program.

Pitts had lunch with about 30 student journalists, scholars and administrators in the Washington Sankofa Room of the Witherspoon Student Center, and that afternoon spoke to a gathering of more than 600 people in the Piedmont-Mountains Ballroom.

While Pitts’ resume includes coverage of some of the biggest news stories of his generation – from the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the Iraq War to Hurricane Katrinia and the 2000 Florida Presidential recount – he spoke to students more about his upbringing and how he overcame various obstacles to rise to the top of his profession.

Raised by a single mother in a working-class neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, Pitts overcame a debilitating stutter and a misdiagnosis of mental retardation at age 12 with the help of a strong family, strong faith and various mentors who helped him at key moments in his life. He recounted his struggles in his 2009 book Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges.

Nearly a dozen student journalists from the Nubian Message, Technician and Agromeck all had a chance to get to know Mr. Pitts and ask him for advice during the midday luncheon, and he shared both his personal cell phone number and email address with them if he could be of help to them in the future.