No matter what field you’re in, we’ve all had people who have touched us along the way. From college professors, colleagues and in my case an INCREDIBLE boss.
You’ve probably seen me post from time to time about Scott Saxton.
Those posts only scratch the surface of the impact he’s had on my life and so many other journalists getting their start.
I met Scott when he hired me as a producer in the Fall of 2009.
After nearly two years of nos, he gave me my first yes.
He was the first person willing to take a chance on me and I give him so much credit for the professional I’ve become.
In a field where morning shows can often be forgotten, when new employees can be lost in the crowd…Scott was always there.
I was hired to produce a 2 hour morning show and it wasn’t like copy and paste two hours. Scott had a very specific vision for the show and I carry that same standard with me everywhere I go.
During the early hours while most people were sleeping…Scott was out the door. Not sure if he does it anymore, but he would get up and run and then be back in time for my 5am show. If he saw something that needed to be changed or he didn’t like, there was always a friendly email… instantly. At first as a new producer it seemed harsh, but he was teaching me so much. In my early months producing Scott and I would meet every morning almost right after my show and we’d talk about what worked and what didn’t. More of that one-on-one feedback that helped make me a better producer and person. Feedback that kept me motivated to be better everyday. Feedback that helps me still today, give everything my all.
For 10 years he has been a fearless leader in the WECT newsroom in Wilmington. Today he says goodbye to this industry, for now. Through those years he has touched so many lives. I reached out to a few of my WECT alum for a little help with this goodbye.
“I applied to over 100 jobs when I was close to graduating college. I heard back from three stations and interviewed with 2. I was so grateful for Scott. He hired me straight out of college and I hit the ground running. That job helped me grow up. It taught me the skills I needed so I could find my dream job. He also helped me find my husband. I am forever grateful to Scott Saxton. Good luck in your career change!” – Nikki Reck
“My life would be much different if Scott Saxton didn’t offer me the opportunity at WECT. Sure, I would’ve found another small-market job somewhere but his style of leadership and news judgment was just what I needed. The story I choose to share doesn’t really reflect that, but it’s a fair account of what there is to love about him. We’re in the middle of wall-to-wall for a hurricane. Everyone is working long hours and most of us are soaking wet. There’s more food in the news room than a cooking segment, election night and Super Bowl potluck combined. At one point I was standing next to the managers as they talked out our plan for continuing coverage. Scott looked like he just woke up from a nap that was too short on an air mattress that was under-inflated. I’d never seen a boss like that. I’d also never seen someone FREAK OUT over chicken salad like that. The assignment manager had walked up with some on his plate. Scott was mid-sentence when he noticed the food and shouted. The exact quote is fuzzy but it was something along the lines of “And you’re eating all the chicken salad!” or “How much chicken salad have you had?!” It broke some tension from the seriousness of the hurricane. It woke up those of us feeling sleep-deprived. It showed me what a comical, quality person Scott is. TV news needs more Scott Saxton’s. His reason for leaving the business is proof of it. Maybe his family will share the chicken salad.” -Craig Reck
“Scott understands the importance of developing talent through opportunity. I was a morning producer when we met. But he gave me a chance to develop as a reporter and anchor. Those opportunities have shaped my career. His thoughtful leadership, empathy and compassion is what this industry needs more of. I’m happy for his new endeavor, and I will miss him working in television news.” – Tim Pulliam
“I will always remember your calm and confident leadership style. I asked you once if you were nervous for your job interview to become the news director at WECT, and you said- “No! I knew they’d hire me.” I thought that was so awesome! I make it a point now to walk into every meeting, presentation or important event I have with your same confidence. You’ve been an excellent boss and news director, and I am so lucky to have spent some of the earlier years of my career working for you. Best of luck in your next adventure! —Cheers, Claire (Hosmann) Simmons
Scott will always downplay what it has meant for many of us to have him as a boss. He never takes credit for how he’s shaped so many of our careers. Even today, I feel very blessed to have him as a friend and to know he’s just one text away when I need him.
I encourage all news managers to be a Scott to the people you manange. You never know the impact you’re having on their lives.
Today this business is losing one of the good ones. They don’t make them like Scott anymore!