DRIVEN | The Final Interview with DeMarco Morgan | NBC NEWS ANCHOR | 11 ALIVE| PROFESSOR | MOREHOUSE.CLARK.SPELMAN
In less than a month, you get to check off another professional milestone for you. What was that like when you first learned about your CBS offer to NYC?
I gotta be honest with you. I cried like a baby for about 30 quick seconds but don't tell my brothers - lol. Seriously, the tears were flowing because I was on the verge of giving up the hope of making it to network and started to believe that it probably wasn't meant for me. But God! Wow! He answered a prayer that was nearly 30 years old. I've wanted this gig since I was in the 2nd grade watching "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather!"
Your earlier challenges with academics are intriguing. A teacher once once told you that you should get a job doing something as a blue collar worker. You weren't specially doing well with your English class and was in fact on the bottom of your class but yet you proved your teacher wrong and you ended up graduating on top of your class at an ivy league school at Columbia University..... Take me back to that time when all odds were against you. Oh my, it's a moment that I will never forget. My English teacher at Booker T. Washington High School had pretty much giving up on me because I struggled with sentence structure and writing essays and he suggested I find something to do with my hands. I could have allowed those comments to cripple me and set me in another direction but I'm so grateful my mom continued to stay on me and push me in the right direction. I found a tutor in my best friend's mom at the time and started improving drastically but I still scored a 13 twice on the ACT and a 16 once. I applied to several colleges and universities and was denied acceptance to all but one - Jackson State University said Yes! I went off to JSU and began to read more and things started to fall in place. I was using words correctly and properly and still didn't know the meaning of some of them. My writing improved and my junior year I was ranked as the only African-American in the nation's top ten collegiate journalists by Scripps Howard. I was also featured as one of Ebony Magazine's Top 30 Future Leaders of America. I later got accepted to Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism where I was awarded the CBS Fred Friendly Scholarship and interned at 48 Hours and The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. Things took off for me. I was later invited back to my high school to deliver the commencement speech and guess who was in the audience? My English teacher - as I was introduced as a working television reporter and anchor. And I was also teaching at Jackson State at the time as well. Never give up on your dreams.
Have you always been crisp about where you wanted to be? I went through the stage that every little boy goes through in the earlier years of wanting to be a cop, firefighter, superhero, etc. But it wasn't until I was watching the space shuttle "Challenger" lift off -and then moments later - explode that I was truly bitten by the broadcasting bug. I've been hooked to breaking news ever since.
What has been the fuel of your success and what's keeping you grounded and authentic? Honestly, my faith in God and having a praying mother mixed with hard work and determination has been the working recipe. I've wanted to the throw in the towel and quit so many times. But there were always encouraging words coming from the other side of the telephone during late night and early conversations with my mom. My father died when I was 10 years old on Father's Day and my brother had strayed away joining gangs and being in and out of jail. So, I wanted to prove my mother right! Not wrong! And make something of myself in life so her tears of sorrow would turn into tears of joy. I have to remain humble and chill at all times because I know just as quick as you get something it can be taken away from you. I love people and feed off of positive energy and I never wanted to be that guy that was too good for anything. I will always be accessible and giving of myself. I love philanthropic efforts as well. The saying goes, "To whom much is given, much is required."
The Big Apple is waiting for your thunderous return. What's going through your mind as you make your way back no longer an intern working at CBS News but about to take an assignment as a correspondent? Maryan, I'm still in shock! I haven't even started packing yet. But I'm excited and a bit nervous at the same time. So many emotions all at once. But I have a strong support team and an amazing group of friends behind me pushing me at all times so I'm not too worried about the journey but I'm praying that I will fulfill the purpose that God has for me along the way - whatever that may be! It's apart of my journey and my story and I'm sure it's just another means of transportation to my ultimate destination so I'll just continue to fly in the friendly skies with the hopes that no matter what - things will work out as they always do!
For the last 4 years, Atlanta has embraced you with your philanthropic activities, as an educator at Clark Atlanta and Morehouse with students from Spelman as well, and as the charismatic news anchor with Brenda Wood on NBC News 11 Alive, what will you miss most about this city? Oh, the city has been absolutely amazing to me!!! The people have been awesome and incredibly supportive throughout my entire stay here. I never got a negative email written to the station. Now, that's awesome! So thank you ATL for looking out for a brother. But I will miss my students most. Every time I think about them and leaving I start to tear up (I know fellas...lol.. I can be a bit emotional at times). But they have blessed me so much inside the classroom and it has been a real honor working with the next generation of journalists. I'll miss all of the great food as well!
Aside from broadcasting the news nationally on CBS next month, what part of the new venture excites you the most? The unknown! That's what excites me the most and moving back to the Big Apple. It's one of the greatest cities on earth. But I promise this go-round to only focus on positive thoughts and on positive people and block the naysayers out along the way. It will be tough but it's possible: I want to stay focused on what lies ahead for the next chapter in my life. And with God's help and guidance I'll be just fine just knowing that my steps have been ordered.
Interviewed by Maryan Aiken | Founder | PaperGlass Media | WireTree Media. All images shot on location and photographed by Maryan Aiken.
Read DeMarco Morgan's Interview for Bloomingdale's Men of Style here.