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1 USF Florida Studies Center Oral History Program USF 50 th History Anniversary Project Narrator: Kerry Sanders Interviewer: Mark I. Greenberg Current Position: Correspondent with Location of Interview: Tampa NBC News Campus Libr ary Date of Interview: October 30, 2003 Abstractor: Daniel Bertwell Editor: Danielle E. Riley Final Editor: Jared G. Toney Date of Edit: January 9, 2004 TOPICS OF DISCUSSION Some biographical information Mr. Sanders was born in New York City on Oc tober 19, 1960. He didn't live there very long. He cannot recall much from that period of his life. He was born in Mt. Sinai Hospital and his family lived near Riverside Park. His father worked for the Better Business Bureau and when he was promoted, t he family had to move to Wilmington, Delaware. He took classes in Delaware at Tower Hill School and Tattnell. They took French and many of his classes were taught in French. He was fluent in French while very young. They moved and he no longer remember s how to speak French. The family then moved to Massachusetts, and lived outside of Boston. When they were in Massachusetts his mother, who was raised in Lima, Peru, decided that her children should get the experience of living in another culture. Mr. Sanders' older brother had lived in Peru for a time. Just before Mr. Sanders was going into junior high they were going to have him move to Peru, but it was the mid 1970s and there were problems in Lima. There was too much violence in the area for his m other to send him there. His mother explained that this violence might continue indefinitely and he might not be able to go to Peru. Mr. Sanders' father served as a volunteer director of the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and they were traveli ng to England. The family went to England with their father and Mr. Sanders' mother asked him, since he would not be able to go to Peru, if he would like to go to school in England. Mr. Sanders ended up going to school in England for two years. He went to boarding school for junior high. He went to high school in the Boston area and by his sophomore or junior year things calmed down in Peru. His mother offered to allow him to go there. He spent a year living there. He had a great time and learned S panish. Going into his senior year he was coming home from Peru and the plane had to make a stop in Miami. He was at the Miami airport and called his aunt Helen Sue Hamilton (maiden name Hurley) in Orlando who offered to let him come by and visit. She a sked him what he was doing and he said that he was going to go to college. He needed two more credits for high school. She was a high school teacher and she found out that if he took a class called "Americanism Vs. Communism" he could get a high school d iploma in Florida. He decided to go to college
2 in Florida. He went to her high school in Orlando and lived with her, when he finished high school it was time to look for colleges. While he was in Lima he wasn't sure what he wanted to study. "All I knew I wanted was an adventure, that's what I wanted in life." He didn't know exactly what he wanted beyond that. He had danced with the Boston Ballet Company and he had been in theater, which was exciting, but he didn't think that he had what it took to do that as a career. He could no longer sing after his voice changed, ballet was "tough" because it is insular. A boy that dances is made fun of by all his friends who play hockey. He knew that he wanted an adventure, but he hadn't decided on journalism. There was a television show called "Zoom" on PBS when he was young. He tried out for the show and they picked nine kids to be on the show. He was one of the nine kids, but they decided to make it eight and Mr. Sanders was the one cut. He had played so ccer in high school and in England at Newlands in Seaford Sussex. Most of the boarding schools in England in 1971 73 have since closed, but this one is still open. He went to St. Johns High School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, then on to Peru. He went t o Markam in Lima, Peru, which was a bilingual school with classes in both English and Spanish. This was a brother sister school to St. Sivestre, where his mother had gone to school. He came to Orlando and went to Oakridge High School, where he got his hi gh school diploma. He graduated in 1978 and was looking at colleges. He had played soccer all through school and decided that he wanted to be a professional soccer player. USF had a "fantastic soccer team" at the time. His Aunt in Orlando had graduat ed from USF and she took him on a tour of college campuses. They went to USF and UF. He chose to come to USF for "all the wrong reasons." He thought "the campus looked really pretty." He is from New England with old buildings and ivy and he was surpris ed and impressed with how new USF was. Furthermore there was no institutional focus at USF. In other words people don't ask you what your last name is and if your father and grandfather went to that school. This focus didn't exist at USF. He wanted to play soccer at USF and then play for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. College was important in his family, he was raised to believe that college was important and necessary. His older brother had gone to the University of Southern Maine. Initial reaction to campu s He arrived at the orientation just before school began. He moved into the dormitories and lived in Beta 018, which was a basement floor dorm room. The very first day of school in the Arts and Letters Building (now Cooper Hall) they all sat in there and someone came on stage and gave everyone a talk about how they are in the real world now. The person sitting next to him started telling jokes, he had a New York accent and is still a friend of Mr. Sanders today, Hyde Kirby. At that time the drinking age was eighteen, Mr. Sanders was seventeen but no one really cared. The first thing that you do when you get to college is learn that you are on your own and decide if you are going to drink or not and there is a tremendous amount of peer pressure. For the first week and a half or two weeks you learn to be free and independent. In a broad way he grew up at USF. The best
3 professors he had taught him how to think and how to follow direction. When the professor says something, you can challenge them, but in the exam you cannot. Manny Lucoff was probably the most difficult professor he had because he was demanding and expected the students to come to class prepared. He expected that you not only be able to recite back what you've learned but also understa nd what you are citing. You become an adult when you come to college. Mr. Sanders took broadcasting with Manny Lucoff, who taught the most difficult classes within the mass communications department. Mass Communications Law with Manny Lucoff was the t oughest class that Mr. Sanders took. This class was very difficult but Dr. Lucoff taught it "extremely well." When Mr. Sanders came into Mass Communications as a junior there were two requirements, you had to have a 2.0 GPA and you needed to type thirty five words a minute. In his freshman year he was similar to many students in that some of his basics weren't very good. He was good in math but not as strong in English. He had a professor named Linda Yakle who worked very hard to teach him in the basic s that he had missed. He can blame many things for these shortcomings, perhaps it was going to three different high schools or taking many classes in Spanish but whatever the reason he didn't have the basics. She took him aside and taught him how to do t he things he had to do. She took him aside and he would not be where he is today without her help because he has to write clearly in journalism. He had another professor that helped teach how to write a paragraph and structure sentences, which was very h elpful. For two years he took the "basic" classes. He was pretty good at math and took a few math classes. The last math class that he took that would have been a challenge was calculus. There were 200 students there. Professor Woo said, in a thick ac cent "if you don't understand me now, drop the class." He had trouble understanding her but stayed in the class. Mr. Sanders got a "C" in that class, his only "C" at USF. There were 200 people in the class and only 50 of them passed. This class was cha llenging but classes were on the quarter system so the classes went by quickly and there was no mandatory attendance policy so you didn't really have to go if someone would bring you the notes. Social life in the first two years The social life was grea t, there were fraternities and sororities but there was no Greek domination of social life. There were a lot of kids in school, but as big as the university was, there were not very many people living on campus so there was still a relatively small social life on campus. He lived in Beta Hall. Alpha Dorm tended to have older people because it was coed and the older kids had preferred to get into this situation. It was a lot of fun, you could set your classes up in a very specific way. He set up Monday a nd Wednesday afternoon classes and morning classes on Tuesday and Thursday, with Fridays off. He would have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off and would not have to start school until Monday afternoon. He was interested in soccer but didn't play for the s chool. Dan Holcomb, the coach at the time, directed Mr. Sanders to an under nineteen select team. He was going to take his
4 players for the following year from this group. They played and practiced hard. They played the Rowdies (the professional team in Tampa at the time). At that point he believed that soccer was going to be his life and he continued to believe this throughout his first two years at USF. While in the Beta dorm in 1979 or 1980, there were "tremendous floods" on campus and "all of Tam pa was saturated." He got an air mattress and was floating around outside his dorm. He floated by a stop sign and the Oracle printed a picture of this on the front page. He moved into Alpha One West as a junior, where he became interested in activities. (They joked that they were GDI's, which means something similar to "gosh darn independent.") Activities and Service fee used to be a part of the tuition and some of the money went into a general fund. They realized that the Greeks were the ones getting a ll the money. They decided that the Greeks should not get all the money, so everyone in Alpha One got together and discussed the things they liked to do, the one thing everyone liked to do was fish. They started an "Anglers Club" and got a portion of the Activities and Service fees. They used the money to go on fishing trips. Mr. Sanders was interested in the University Center Activities Board and he became the president of this group. This allowed him to help put programs together and plan trips. The y went camping and white water rafting, and they went to the World's Fair in Knoxville. There were parallel groups on the campus. Some of Mr. Sanders' friends were "ambassadors" or Greeks and this was a very official group. The other groups were goofing around and enjoying themselves. They were a part of the system but they had a lot of fun. In about 1980 or 1981 they had an idea to put someone into the running for homecoming king, which was a very Greek competition. Mr. Sanders was chosen to run fo r homecoming king. He made it into the final three, but didn't win. This was a lot of fun. Mike Minor whom Mr. Sanders knew and had had an English class with, won that year wearing a suit, while Mr. Sanders was wearing a rope belt, t shirt and jeans. This is what he liked about USF, they allowed for a sense of humor and people could have fun on the campus. There was little interaction with the city of Tampa. Mr. Sanders had a car, but if he went off campus it was to play soccer and that was it. He "lived in the bubble of USF." He would occasionally go down Fletcher to go to bars, they might go to Molly McGuire's, or go to Subway to get a sandwich, but they didn't go into Tampa very much at all. The fact that they were a part of a larger community dawned on him when the Sunshine Skyway Bridge collapsed and they were "riveted to the television in the dorm room and we were just living every minute of that." He isn't sure if this triggered his desire to become a journalist, but he also remembers stay ing up late at night during the hostage crisis and listening to Ted Koppel's reports. During his sophomore year he began looking for a major, and he considered classes in mass communications and advertising (Dan Bagley taught a great class in advertisin g that he liked.). There were classes in public relations that he enjoyed and he became involved in the Public Relations Students Society of America. He then took a journalism class and
5 he though that the people in the class who worked for the Oracle were achievers and they were fairly advanced. Mr. Sanders was just learning to type so he was a little behind, but he was learning a lot and learning it fairly quickly and he liked doing journalism. He was more interested in television than in print media. When he came here television journalism was taught theoretically because there was only one camera for the entire student body. The camera was very primitive and there was only one set of editing equipment. This equipment was locked up in a room and you c ould only edit during class. Dave Toby taught the class. Someone was trying to get the editing equipment to work during class and the equipment would not work. The professor said that if anyone could tell him why the equipment did not work he would give him or her an "A" for the quarter. Mr. Sanders answered correctly and got an "A." They didn't have much access to equipment, they didn't learn the practical aspects of the work. There was an "iron curtain" between WUSF and the Mass Communications Schoo l. There was no interaction, but Mr. Sanders was able to get a job at WUSF and this was very helpful. When he got to WUSF he learned that he did not want to work for public television, they sat around for hours and hours and did nothing. They did a yoga show called Motion With Marion, and they did a gardening show. Darcy Corchorine was one of his classmates and she worked there with him They took a lot of the national feed from PBS and at the end of each show they would do a "Tonight on Channel 16" prom o. They had fun and they learned some important aspects of working in television but there was a lot of down time. On the other hand he learned that he wanted to be in front of the camera rather than in production. It never dawned on him that there was anything other than being a reporter or an anchor. This might be as a result of the school's inability to focus on the technical aspects of television. They learned so many theoretical things that they couldn't learn the practical technical things. Ther efore on his first job he learned how these things came together, but in college he learned how to think theoretically and how to do things such as conduct an interview, this is what he got out of the time at USF. In the School of Mass Communications he t ook a law class, intro to broadcasting, and news writing, all stuff that isn't used now. They used to memorize the editing symbols that are not used anymore because with computers they can just cut and paste. When he got his first job at the newspaper, t hey would write on a newspaper, mark it and put the newspaper into a cylinder, which would send it over to the editor, who would mark it up and send it back, so these marks all mattered because it was a means of communication. Mr. Sanders took a crimina l justice class with a professor that ran into problems here at USF (possibly because of his "relationship with female students") and was possibly asked to leave. Mr. Sanders cannot remember the professor's name but he really taught the class to think bec ause he didn't just have them learn from the textbook, he had them think about things they never thought about. He brought a convicted murderer to class, this second degree murderer talked to the class about the murder, his life and what it was like to be free. This had a great impact on Mr. Sanders. He had always thought that if someone committed murder they should go to jail forever and he was faced with a person that had a story about where he came from, what he did, and now being free and trying to g et his life back on track. This was a good class because they were not memorizing from a text, they were being asked to think and come to conclusions.
6 He took another class with another professor whose name he cannot remember. This was a women's studies class, the professor was a strong women's rights advocate and she had a great impact on him because she "opened the door to thinking about things in a different way." This caused him to stop and think about things in the society that are not fair, which Mr. Sanders had never bothered to stop and think about. The theme of his education is that the most important things he learned were not learned through memorization, they were learned through looking at what is around you and trying to make sense of it. USF as multicultural Mr. Sanders speaks Spanish and had several friends from Spanish speaking countries and he has many great memories of them, but he also remembers some ugly times here at USF. During the Iran Hostage Crisis, anyone who was middle eas tern had to deal with obnoxiousness from students. He remembers gatherings where many students would yell horrible things and chase Iranian students back to their dorms. There were times that had a lasting impression on Mr. Sanders. His first roommate was African American, Mark Ely, and when you arrive on campus you are thrown together and don't get to pick your roommates. He was from Washington DC, and his nickname was DC. They have stayed in touch but lost track of one another over the past few yea rs. When Mr. Sanders was here they were living in a multicultural setting on campus, they lived with African American students, Hispanic students. Sports on Campus He never played varsity soccer here at USF. He realized that his "life was not going to b e about soccer" and he had to do other things. The sports world was not about football, they would all say that they needed a football team because UF and FSU had a team and the team was the unifying aspect of the campus. While Mr. Sanders was here the a dministration said that there would not be a football team because the school would be about academics rather than sports. In his senior year he thought that was great, but in his early years he thought that was not a good idea. Fortunately they had a basketball team which was very good, there were players from all over. He and his friend Lenny Miller decided that they should get everyone excited for the team, they went over to the new Sun Dome and started a kazoo band, they would all get together, pla y their kazoos. There was a rule against bringing signs into the Sun Dome, so they would bring the signs in and the signs would be ripped down, this was all a means to challenge authority. This was different because he doesn't follow organized sports now but while here he really liked the basketball team. He doesn't think the football team today is funded in such a manner that it takes away from the university's major focus to teach and research and help students grow. Graduation and starting career He was desperate to find a job in television and there weren't very many jobs out there in television. This pre dates cable, so mostly you needed to work for one of the three major
7 networks. Getting a job was about who you knew and not what you know. His mother knew some people in South America, and an uncle down there got him a job. He lived in his uncle's house for about a week, but his uncle was in a city about six hours north. Mr. Sanders called his mother and she got a message to his uncle. His unc le said, "I figured you weren't ready to start because you don't have your tools." His uncle was under the false impression that Mr. Sanders was in Lima to get a job fixing televisions. He went to the U.S. embassy and the United States Information Servic e directed him to a radio station called Radio Pacifico and he explained the situation to them and they were desperate for someone to do the news in English, so he did that for a while and then came home. While in Lima he was lost because he didn't know how to do a lot of the aspects of his job. He also had to do a lot of it on his own because no one else spoke English. He had to learn everything as he went along. He was happy that he was doing electronic journalism, he did this for about three months and realized that he was not going to go anywhere there so he returned to New England and got a job at a newspaper outside of Boston. He got a job at The South Middlesex News this served the metro west area of Boston. They did the "most boring storie s you could ever dream of" such a meetings of town selectmen trying to decide whether or not to spend $80 on a new water pump. They would "meet for an hour, talk about things that were ridiculously boring, and they would have no conclusion," so Mr. Sander s couldn't say that "the town of Stowe in the Metro west area of Boston met and decided to spend $30 on a new fuel filter" because they never came to a conclusion, so this was a great learning process for him. His first big story was a front page story on school redistricting. He was very excited although the article did not resemble the one he wrote, because it had been altered quite a bit by the editor. He was there for a while, but was trying to get into broadcasting. There was something in Boston called Tunnel Radio, which was a technology that an inventor strung through all the tunnels in Boston. If you are listening to AM radio and go into a tunnel you lose your signal, this inventor decided that if someone is stuck in traffic in Boston that is a captive audience. He was able to string an apparatus through the tunnels and any AM radio band would pick up his broadcast in the tunnels. The audience would last from one minute to four minutes and Mr. Sanders did taped reports for tunnel radio. On e day Mr. Sanders received a call from the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association to let him know that he received a grant that he had applied for. Mr. Sanders did not recall applying for any grants. It dawned on him that in his junior year he had seen a posting on a bulleting board in the Mass Communications Building asking for a name and phone number of students that wanted to work in television or motion pictures. He had written his parents phone number down because he didn't have a phone i n the dorm. They called and asked him if he wanted to work in film or television he chose television news and got him a job at a station in Jacksonville, his job was to get food for
8 the crews, but he was promised that he would get the chance to do televis ion news journalism. He was very excited and left Massachusetts. Mr. Sanders drove to Jacksonville, where he knew he was going to make very little money, $3.35 an hour. He was making minimum wage with a college degree. Marjorie Mowe had been one of h is advisors and she left the university, she now worked for Blue Cross in Jacksonville, she was the only person he knew in Jacksonville. He called her and asked her if she could rent him a room. She rented him a room in the back of her house for $100 a m onth. All he had was a blanket on the floor, but he had a place to stay and the USF connection was paying off. He got started in the job getting food for the crew but also learning journalism. The state money that paid his salary was gone in three mon ths, the station hired him for another four months and he did on air reporting. They turned him into a weekend reporter before the end of the seven months, but then told him to leave so they could get someone else in there. He found a job in Ft. Myers at the CBS station in Ft. Myers. He worked for WNCC TV in Ft. Myers and his grandmother lived on Ft. Myers beach. He left the $3.35 an hour job and now had a job making $9,700 a year. His grandmother lived there and she let him live with her. He worked there for 3 years. He was also very lucky in that he had a boss that was also a mentor and taught him how to be a correspondent. Jim Bennett, had been a war correspondent in Vietnam for both ABC and NBC. He had "done it all, seen it all" and Mr. Sand ers "could not have been luckier to have a news director like Jim Bennett." Mr. Sanders had always wanted to be a foreign correspondent in Latin America, the possibility that he might be a correspondent elsewhere in the world never dawned on him. Jim B ennett sent him to Panama and El Salvador, giving Mr. Sanders his first experience as an overseas foreign correspondent. This was very exciting. He worked at the station for about two years and in late 1983 and early 1984 (He graduated in 1982) he was ge tting ready to go. He didn't actually leave for about 3 years. He enjoyed working in television. Ft. Myers was a retirement community, the joke was that: All the "old people live in St. Petersburg and their parents live in Ft. Myers." He met his w ife in Immokalee Fl, while covering a story about a freeze in 1984, all the farmers' crops were frozen on the vine and his wife was working for the local newspaper. He spent the morning with the farmers waiting for the sun to come up to see how bad the fr eeze was and they all went to a local diner. His future wife was there and she knew the cameraman the Mr. Sanders was working with and that is how he met Deborah Sharp, his future wife, she is now the Florida Correspondent for USA Today. While in Ft. Mye rs he really wanted to go to a "big city." He had a friend in Ft. Myers that had been at Channel 13, the CBS station in Tampa and they decided to hire Mr. Sanders. He got a call from the news director, Jim West, who offered a job. His friend was the ass ignment editor and needed a roommate. His girlfriend was working in both Ft. Myers and Washington because she was doing some work for USA Today and he got a job at channel 13.
9 His first day on the job was a change from mundane things to breaking news o n a crane tip over. They told him to "hurry up and get in the helicopter and get out there." Mr. Sanders was very impressed that they had a helicopter and they went out to this story, they were the first ones on the air, this seemed like the "big time" a nd he stayed at Channel 13 for 5 years. He knew the Tampa area from college and he really loved Tampa. He did get the chance to get overseas, he covered the first Gulf War. The Central Command was in Tampa and he believed that it could be a big loca l and national story. For a local TV station to go overseas and cover a war is a big investment and Mr. Sanders did everything he had to do, including getting the visas, to get into Saudi Arabia. They had to go over with a unit and the Fourth Marine divi sion was a reserve unit from the St. Petersburg area that allowed them to go over. The visas were good for three days, Mr. Sanders thought that maybe because it was going to be so confusing over there that no one would come and tell them to leave when the visas ran out. Desert Shield became Desert Storm. His cameraman, Jim Crayman and Mr. Sanders covered everything. They were there for 3 months, before the imbedded media situation. At the time there was a pool media and everyone there had to be accom modated. The big networks, like CNN, were taking care of themselves and when a small local affiliate shows up they need to be accommodated too, so assignments would rotate and they would try to give the worst assignments to the small affiliate. He was put on the USS Kurtz, they renamed their group Charlie 2 Poppa, Combat Correspondent 2, pool number 2. They went out on helicopter to the ship, they did not know what the ship did but it was their little place. The Captain, Captain Glenn Montgomery, welc omed them and told them that the ship was the most advanced submarine hunter, but the enemy's had no submarines so Mr. Sanders assumed that he was given a bogus assignment. It turns out that their mission was to go as far north as possible into the Persia n Gulf, almost to Kuwait and late at night a special team would go ashore and put down laser sighting tags used to fire in missiles later. They found out that they were on the greatest story, but it was top secret, so they were not sure what they were doi ng there. While they are in transit, the British engage some Iraqis and there were about fifty Iraqis waiting to be rescued floating in the water. The ship had to pick up the POWs, the USS Kurtz picked up fifty four POWs total and these were the first PO Ws of the war. Meanwhile an American pilot has been shot down, beaten up, paraded in front of a camera and treated terribly, so the U.S. forces were the other side of the story. The Captain of the ship believed in the pool system, which said that you sho uldn't restrict anyone from shooting anything. At this time the military set up censors but they were allowed to shoot everything except the Iraqi prisoners in prayer, because this might be a violation of the Geneva Convention. The prisoners were treated very well and were able to hold interviews, so these "ragtag journalists" who had been put in this position because the other networks wanted nothing to do with them, were in charge of the biggest story of the war so far. They sent the tapes out to be lo oked at by military censors. A helicopter came back a few days later with the tapes. They weren't turned over. He got the story together and sent everything out again and since it was a pool story it wasn't just for
10 channel 13 it was for everyone in the pool, it ran on ABC, NBC, CBS, McNeill/Lehrer, CNN, it ran on everything and provided him with a lot of national coverage. He went into Kuwait and got to see the celebrations for the liberation of Kuwait, which was also exciting. He came back to Tampa and was asked by the NBC station in Miami if he wanted a job. His wife was a south Florida native, so she was excited, and he was excited because of Miami's reputation as a news source. NBC had also closed its network bureau in Miami and the staff of th e local station would report to the Today Show and the Nightly News. This was good because he would work for the local station and get national exposure. He got some great stories in Miami, got to spend three months in Haiti for the Aristide story and go t to cover stories for the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas. He went undercover in Cuba shooting stories. This was a great experience and he got "an opportunity to do things on a local level that was like network stuff." It was nice to do things for the Today Show and the Nightly News. Five and a half years after he arrived the General Manager told him that he was going to a network job at NBC. He had been told that they were not looking for "another white guy" at NBC and this came as a surpri se. He's been at the network now for nine years. Mr. Sanders as a reporter He has been told that he is tenacious and is interested in finding out what is happening. He does not want to help people decide what is right or wrong, he wants to come to his o wn conclusions. He isn't interested in chasing the "big interview," he would prefer to talk to more anonymous people. These stories tend to tell the public more about our world. He is not interested in interviewing stars. He is most interested in every day life and he does "spot news stories" such as plane crashes. In these kinds of instances, despite what people thing about the media being vultures, they don't like to interview the grieving family, but fifty percent of the people tell him that they are glad they showed up. They want to talk about the lost loved one. They can also learn about the faults of the way aviation is run. One of his first stories as a network anchor exposed these faults after a crash and the reporting might have revealed the problems that have since been rectified. He likes to report these kinds of things that make a difference. Iraq War 2003 He planned on going over and "figuring it out" on his own. His bosses in New York supported this because he had done the same thing i n Kosovo. He went to the border of Kuwait and Iraq and realized he would not be able to be a unilateral reporter because he would only be able to get across if he is lucky. He visited a Colonel in the army that he knew and suggested that he become a "fak e imbedded reporter," since the army would not check to see if he was actually imbedded. He agreed and moved into Iraq when the soldiers went into Iraq. He documented everything they did. He was given access to everything. Mr. Sanders was invited to cl assified briefings and the army mostly allowed him to report whatever he wanted. He was able to see some real tough battles and the modern technology allowed him to go live from the battle as it was taking place, which was exciting. This gave them the op portunity to do something that journalists had never
11 been able to do. He had covered conflict in Nasiriyah and was aware of the situation with Private Jessica Lynch prior to the rescue. They gave him the heads up that she was going to be rescued and thei r cameras shot some footage, Mr. Sanders was the first one to report private Lynch's rescue. The war in Iraq is, in many ways, still going on. There are still over thirty attacks on U.S. troops a day. He has not been back since 1 May and probably will not go back until next year. He wants to spend time with his wife and spend the holidays covering domestic news. The war was very tough because David Bloom, a very good friend, passed away in Iraq. "It's not easy to accept that he's dead, it's not easy to believe that he's not going to come back up and do another story and it's one of those things that grabs you and shakes you and we all live for reporting, it is not a job, it is something that's in our blood, it pumps through my blood. I care about th is, it matters to me, I want people to know and I want people to understand what's going on in our world, but I don't want to get killed." This is why he decided to take it easy for a little while and spend time with his wife. Family Life He got married on January 7, 1989 and has no children. This was a conscious decision because one of them would have to give up their career and Mr. Sanders would not be able to go to some of the places he goes that are more dangerous. USF He graduated in 1982 and has c ome back to campus occasionally. He comes to Tampa on assignments but he works so much while on assignment he doesn't get to visit the campus too much. Just before the Iraq war he and his wife calculated how much he had been on the road the twelve months prior to the war and he had been gone 197 days. He is on the road a lot as a correspondent. He comes back now and is impressed by the new housing on campus. He remembers when they were building the Sun Dome and they ran out of money so the school cou ld not build exactly what they wanted. Now they have added parts to it to make it closer to the initial vision. The School of Communications was a small hallway in the Arts and Letters building and now they have their own building. "It is amazing to see how the university has grown, and grown for the better, I'm really proud to say that I am a USF graduate and I wonder whether I could have gotten into the school if I applied today." He spoke to a class the day of this interview in Mass Communications ab out his experiences and things he'd learned that might help them out. Everyone's path and goals are different but we all share certain similar hopes in getting into his profession and perseverance is the most important thing. In television news you need to make certain sacrifices, you need to work every holiday and weekend. You need to work long hours and be willing to get very little money when you begin. If he were to do everything over again he would not change a thing. He would still have gone to U SF and was lucky that everything worked out for him. USF has done well by him and everyone that he graduated with. They are all very successful. "The educations
12 that we walked away with from USF have all allowed us to become good members of society and to pursue what we wanted to do." End of Interview
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h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Mark I. Greenberg.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (92 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Interview conducted October 30, 2003.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Kerry Sanders, NBC news correspondent and University of South Florida alum, talks about his experiences at the university during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He discusses what it was like living in Beta Hall resident hall, the nature of freshman year, and multiculturalism at USF. Additionally he talks about how the campus and academics has evolved over the years.
University of South Florida.
Greenberg, Mark I.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
y USF ONLINE ACCESS