Dear NewsChannel 5 Viewers,
How is it possible that 25 years have passed since I first walked through the the doors of WEWS-TV? I'm having a little trouble taking all of this in!
It was July 13, 1987 when I joined "The Morning Exchange." I came to Cleveland that summer filled with a combination of excitement and apprehension, taking on a new job in a new city and wondering if it would last.
And I was deeply aware of - and a little intimidated by - the legacy of this television station and that legendary morning show. Like nearly every job I've ever been hired for, I felt under-qualified. But the warm and wonderful Fred Griffith put me at ease, reminding me that no matter what happened, live TV disappeared "in the act of our doing it," he'd say - "ending up somewhere in the cosmos!" (Yes, in the days before YouTube, one didn't have to worry about an on-air embarrassment going viral, and existing forever on the web.)
But I also remember how the viewers of "The Morning Exchange" welcomed and encouraged me, and gave me a real sense of having found a home here. My six years "on the couch" with Fred, Joel Rose, Jenny Crimm and many show regulars are among my fondest memories. We had two hours with you every day.
Our outstanding producers and production crew filled that time with an astonishing array of subjects from the outrageous to the sublime. And you were a key part of the experience, bringing your questions and engaging in a daily conversation about our lives and the world in which we live.
In Dec. 1993, I was asked to anchor Live On Five with Roy Weissinger and Don Webster. It was a dream job and - for me - a dream team. Roy was a perfect combination of Walter Cronkite and Cary Grant. And Don Webster - well, what can I say! Perpetually tanned, smooth and funny, he was Cleveland's answer to Dick Clark. I couldn't believe my good luck to be sitting next to those two, and I've had many other "pinch me" moments in the years since then.
I've had the opportunity to anchor with and learn from the best. I owe Ted Henry so much, as a friend, mentor and occasional therapist. Danita Harris, Leon Bibb, Mark Johnson, Andy Baskin and now Chris Flanagan - just being with them gives me something to look forward to every day, even when the news itself is hard to take. There are photographers and others in this building with whom I've worked from the beginning. Our shared history means so much to me.
Recently, one of our newer reporters asked me, "What's the secret to longevity here?" The truth is no secret: it is being surrounded by talented people who truly care about their work. Whatever abilities I bring to my role here are just part of a collaboration with our accomplished reporters, and a whole lot of people you never see.
From day one in 1987, the depth of talent among our producers, photographers, editors, directors, technicians and newsroom managers has been a source of confidence and pride. And being part of the E.W. Scripps family for most of my career has been a blessing in so many ways. An anchor who knows anything, knows he or she is only as good as every other link in the chain. I've been fortunate to be part of a solid chain of talent in these 25 years.
But you are the reason I am here. It has always been so, and in spite of whatever changes have and will come to the technology and medium, your interests, needs and well -being are foremost in my mind. My colleagues and I want to make a positive difference for you and your neighborhood. We are here to serve you.
It's a great privilege and responsibility to be a part of this profession, a joy to be connected to this community and live in northeast Ohio. I thank you for any time you're able to spend with us, and for letting me be part of your lives for a very big part of mine. I'm looking forward to many more years together! And unlike 25 years ago, now you can reach out to me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LeeJordanWEWS and on Twitter @JordanWEWS5.
P.S. When I started work here in 1987, I was 15.
Share your thoughts and memories with Lee via the comment box below.