Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Remembering Gary

This email came in the other day:
My brothers who still live in southern California sent me Gary Franklin’s obituary from the Los Angeles Times.

I would appreciate it if you would pass along my deepest sympathies to his family. I would also like them to know how he changed my life.

It was more than 20 years ago and I was in high school. My English class had gone to see Peter Pan at the Pantages Theatre. Gary was there, I guess, to review it, and he also, if I remember correctly, had a crew and live truck with him so he could report on the show that night.

My mom, classmates and I were all standing outside the theatre when I spotted him. I was already a news junkie back then and was a big fan of his. I was a little nervous about approaching him, but finally decided to.

He couldn’t have been nicer or more generous with his time. Here he was before the show, spending at least the next 20 minutes talking with me, sharing stories of how he got into news and offering advice and encouragement.

Several years later, when I was in college in Los Angeles, I got an internship first at KHJ-TV (now KCAL Ch. 9) and then at KCBS-TV. At both stations, I spent time working with their entertainment reporters, in large part based on my conversation and experience with him. That internship at Channel 9 turned into a job, in fact, where I worked as the entertainment producer while still in college.

I ended up deciding not to stick with entertainment reporting. But, my experience in those newsrooms exposed me to news reporting and the news business and I was hooked. When I graduated from college, I made the switch to general assignment reporting.

I am now an investigative reporter and weekend morning anchor with 20 years in the business. I have won awards for my work and my stories have helped changed lives. But, all of this might never have happened had Gary not taken the time and been so kind to an adoring fan in high school so long ago.

I had, at times, thought about writing and thanking him. I’m sure he would not have remembered our meeting. But, I wanted him to know he’d made a difference.

I’m now sorry that I never did that. But, I, at least, wanted you to know.

Thank you.

Jennifer Kraus

Investigative Reporter/Weekend Morning Anchor

NewsChannel 5

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