CBS News Anchor and Appleseed President Remember Webster Days
People Let Me Tell You About My Best FriendBy Kevin Walker
UNIVERSITY CITY, MO - Sean McManus, President of CBS News and Sports, has announced that my best friend, Russ Mitchell, has been named anchor of the Sunday edition of the CBS Evening News. His appointment was announced several days before Today Show host Katie Couric confirmed that she will become the permanent anchor of the CBS Evening News succeeding Dan Rather. Hall of Fame member Dave Garroway, UCHS 1931', was the first host of NBC's Today Show.
I call him Russell because that's what we all called him as kids. He and I grew up together and we have been close friends since we lived in North St. Louis in the 1960's. My parents went to Vashon High School. Russell's parents went to Sumner High School. His parents attended Lincoln University and Harris-Stowe with my aunt and uncle. His mother taught elementary school in St. Louis Public Schools for three decades. On the North side, he lived near Fairgrounds Park and I lived near Penrose Park when our families moved to Rock Hill. We attended Schall Elementary School, Steger Junior High School, and Webster Groves High School together. We traded Hot Wheels, played electronic football, played little league baseball, bought 45's, and chased girls at the Time Machine - all during the 70's.
Secrets. A little known fact is that Russell began his television career on KSD-TV's 'Corky the Clown Show'. True. He and I first appeared on the Saturday morning landmark as teen-age movie reviewers in 1972. At Steger and Webster, Russell and I both read school announcements on the Public Address systems at the beginning and the end of each school day. We worked at McDonald's in Webster flipping hamburgers when we were sixteen. Following the prestigious job at McDonalds, Russell got a real job answering the phones at night in the lobby of KTVI-TV. After high school he went to Mizzou on a journalism scholarship from KTVI and I went to Kansas (read no scholarship) and we never lost touch.
Members of our families are long-time University City residents. My grandmother moved to U. City in 1970 and Russell's aunt and uncle have lived in our town for over 40 years. His cousin Judy Griffin graduated from UCHS in 1975. As adults we both started our families in University City. My family lived on Delmar Boulevard and Russell's lived on Groby Road across from Ruth Park - complete with golf balls that crashed through the front window of his home! He left the golf balls and U. City to work for CBS in New York.
Russell will retain his current duties as co-anchor of the Saturday Early Show with Tracy Smith and as one of the rotating anchors of the Saturday edition of the CBS Evening News with Thalia Assuras and Mika Brzezinski. He also is a correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning. Russell substitutes as anchor of the weekday CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer and the weekday Early Show.
"Russ is one of our most versatile anchors," said McManus. "He has more than earned this position, and I'm pleased to further raise Russ' profile at CBS News."
Much of his early career was spent in St. Louis. Russell was a weekend anchor and daily reporter with KMOV-TV, the CBS affiliate in St. Louis (1987-92) where he worked with former KMOV reporter and UCHS Hall of Fame member, Jamie Allman, UCHS 1981'. Russell was a reporter at KTVI-TV St. Louis (1985-87). He anchored at WFAA-TV Dallas (1983-85). Russell began his broadcasting career in 1982 at KMBC-TV Kansas City.
He has received many professional citations, including a 2005 New York Association of Black Journalists Award for best documentary for a Sunday Morning report on Stax Records, a 2001 Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for the CBS Evening News with Russ Mitchell's coverage of the Elian Gonzales story, a 1997 Emmy Award for coverage of the crash of TWA's flight 800, a 1995 National Association of Black Journalists Award, two Emmy Awards from the St. Louis chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and a 1989 Best Reporter honor from the Missouri UPI.
When he's not in Gotham he maintains a home in the St. Louis area part-time. From time-to-time you can find us hanging out at Nobu's Restaurant on Olive Street or in the U. City Loop. Russell Mitchell is living proof that good guys do not finish last. Congratulations my friend.
New St. Louis Based Staff Member for Project Appleseed
Project Appleseed welcomes our new Director of External Affairs and Assistant to the President, Sarah Tuke. As the director of external affairs, Sarah has both national and local responsibilities with Project Appleseed. She will assist in managing Project Appleseed's development of the capital campaign for University City High School. Sarah will also represent the organization nationwide with parents, community members, community groups and government to obtain and provide information about effective parental involvement and school improvement.
Sarah has valuable organizing, fund raising, and political experience. She served as the assistant citizen outreach director for the Fund For Public Interest Research in St. Louis in 2005. The Fund for Public Interest Research is a national nonprofit organization working to increase the visibility, membership and political power of the nation's leading environmental and progressive groups.
She was an intern in the Washington D.C. Congressional Office of Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper in 2004. In John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004, Sarah helped organize and coordinate a network of Veterans for Kerry across the state of Tennessee where her father, Bob Tuke, served as state chairman of Veterans for Kerry and is the current chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party. She was a volunteer in Tennessee Congressman Bob Clement's U.S. Senate Campaign in 2002 and coordinated a statewide all women's fundraising event. In 2000 Sarah worked in the scheduling and advance office of former Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign.
Sarah is a 2005 graduate of the University of Virginia and holds a B.A. in History, and a minor in Politics. She was a research intern at UVA Center for Politics where she was granted the James McIlhany Thomson research assistant position for the Annual Virginia Governors Conference. She assisted in the interviews for the PBS documentary on the life of former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder.
Sarah is available for parents in University City and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (314) 225-7757.
projectappleseed.org/ucity THE UNIVERSITY CITY CAMPAIGN FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT
projectappleseed.org/mo THE MISSOURI CAMPAIGN FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT
projectappleseed.org THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT
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