Today’s Spotlight shines on Channel Two News Reporter, Steve Brown. Steve came to WGRZ from Fox News Channel where he covered politics – including four presidential campaigns! He’s known around the community for asking tough questions – and he’s known in the newsroom for his candy bowl!!! I love that Steve is an old-school journalist – there to make a difference in the community. He’s a dad to three boys, an avid bicyclist, a great newsman and a nice guy! Here’s our interview:
Q: You came back to Buffalo a few years ago – I have to ask, what do you think about the rebirth we’ve seen here?
A: There’s a different energy/attitude in Buffalo. That’s a good thing. Governor Andrew Cuomo does deserve some credit. He’s right when he says there was a negative vibe in the city. Many of us, (and I have to confess I’ve thought this way,) have been waiting for the next bad thing to happen. As a community, we’ve turned a corner. And the Buffalo Billion is just a part of that. There are lots of good things happening here. Property values are zooming. (You won’t find a modestly priced home in the Elmwood Village anymore.) The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus has been the scene of constant construction. There is money flowing in our community. But I also believe this is the most critical time for western New York. If government-fueled projects fail, it could be a hammer blow for the region. And I’ll be blunt, the region is not immune to cronyism. This is why I’m here. I wanted to join Channel 2’s
team of watchdogs keeping an eye on our community.
Q: How has the field of journalism/broadcasting changed since you started out? I mean – it’s changed SO much…
A: The digital age has changed everything, including journalism. When I worked for the Fox News Channel, I remember being issued my first BlackBerry in 2004. All of a sudden, those of us covering political campaigns (especially races for the White House), could communicate in real time all across the country. Suddenly, the difference between being first and last on a story was a matter of seconds.
Social media has generated all sorts of citizen journalism. So now, I’m competing against a larger number of people. What we have at Channel 2 is a reputation as fair, accurate, unbiased journalists. Credibility has never been more important.
Q: You spent quite a while at Fox News Channel – tell us what it was like to work for the cable giant. What do you miss most/least about your time there?
A: I was a great privilege to cover four presidential campaigns. Years before I joined FNC (in 1998), I had long given-up any ambitions of competing with those journalists who are documenting the contest for the next leader of the free world. I had figured the window had closed for me. Then, I found myself working this vitally important contests. I remember, after spending the better part of two years covering the 2008 race, then President-elect Barrack Obama’s first post-election news conference. There I was. Front row. Jake Tapper seated next to me. Next to him, Chip Reid. And I could help but think, “How did I get HERE?”
I was literally there with a front row seat to history. It was amazing. What don’t I miss? I lost so much time with my sons. They tell me they understand. They know what I was doing was important. Still, I have regrets.
Q: I know much of your time has been spent holding those in power accountable – what is the most absurd reaction or quote or interview or excuse you’ve ever been given?
A: I think that distinction goes to Governor Cuomo. After he shut down the Moreland Commission, he decided to hold a news conference in Buffalo. I had the first question, “Why did you shut down the Moreland
Commission?” His response was that the commission was a lever he was using to get ethics reform passed through the state legislature. Now, you do not have to be a keen observer of state politics
to understand that New York State government is…how do I say this politely?…ethically challenged.
Q: Craziest thing that ever happened to you on live television?
A: Outside the “Horseshoe”, Columbus, OH during the Ohio State game with Michigan. During my last live-shot of the day, some very drunken young woman rushed up and shouted “Go Buckeyes!” She was up in my space while I was doing my job, so, I pushed her with my shoulder. Google it. I’m not proud of it, but it happened.
Q: Do you have an all-time favorite story?
A: The work Jim Heaney (founder of Investigative Post) and I did on the sub-par performance of the Buffalo Police Department when it comes to solving murder cases. City Hall hated it. But things changed. It’s not perfect, but they are getting better on these cases. As an investigative reporter, if you expose something and there’s an effort to change…it’s the highest compliment, in my opinion.
Q: What do you think of when you hear the term ‘fake news’?
A: It most often comes out of the mouths of people who hear/read something that does not conform to their viewpoint. I think that what some people do these days, search out information which lines-up with their thinking regardless if it’s true or not.
Q: You were always so nice to me when we worked together – and you’re quite popular in the newsroom – does this have anything to do with your candy jar? And what’s in it these days? 🙂
A: Mary, we still miss you. And the candy jars have bubble gum and Starburst in them. When they are empty, I get complaints.
Q: You are always on a bike ride heading somewhere, how did you get started biking and how far do you ride on a regular basis?
A: My bicycle is my best form of therapy. If I’m out there going 50-miles or more (which is usually the case), all I’m thinking about is the ride. No news. No other issues or problems. I got started getting ready for the Ride for Roswell and I fell in love with it. I cannot imagine ever stopping. The worst is when the weather gets too cold/icy and I have to spend my time in spin classes. I’m grateful for the workout,
and Revolution Buffalo is a fantastic woman-owned business, but they know I’d rather be out exploring western New York from a bicycle seat.
Q: I love your cat pictures – tell us about your cat?
A: Shelby is a British Shorthair. She is 100% snot. Shelby allows petting when it suits her…which is usually when she wants to be fed to be scratched (especially around her neck). But she is beautiful and every night sit patiently near me until I pick up the laser pointer for her playtime.
Q: What makes you Totally Buffalo?
A: I wasn’t born here. I did not grow up here. I’m a product of the Finger Lakes. But when I moved here to attend Canisius College, I knew right away this was home. It’s the people mostly. I love how open they are. I admire how hard they work. I see how much they adore their families, their neighborhoods, the Bills (please fellas, a playoff game soon!). I am grateful to be here doing a job I love for a community I love.
You can watch Steve on Channel Two Monday-Friday! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Steve!
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Following my heart with my husband and four daughters. An Emmy Award winning journalist lucky enough to work in television & radio for 20 years - seeing wonderful places, meeting great people and telling their stories.