Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer will Proclaim November 29th
“Marvin Scott Day” in Manhattan
Congressman Peter King to Issue a Congressional Proclamation Honoring Marvin Scott
Marvin Scott has been on the front line of history for half a century, and this month will mark a double anniversary, his 50th year as a broadcast journalist and his 30th year as a member of the WPIX-TV news team.
In a profession that is constantly changing, few television reporters experience three uninterrupted decades of airtime at one station. To commemorate this remarkable achievement, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer will present Marvin Scott with a proclamation declaring Monday, November 29th “Marvin Scott Day” in Manhattan. In addition, Congressman Peter King, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee, will be issuing a Congressional Proclamation “honoring Marvin Scott for his 50 years of outstanding service as a New York broadcast legend who personifies New York’s style, class and grit.” Congressman King will also have an American flag flown over our nation’s Capitol on November 29th.
“It is a pleasure and a great personal honor for me to salute Marvin Scott, on the occasions of his 50th year as a broadcast reporter and his 30 years at WPIX-TV,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. “Marvin’s longevity is truly remarkable, in a fast-paced business where turnover is so frequent. But his success goes beyond his years. He has covered the news with flair and integrity for half a century, and the stories he has brought to the TV screen are a roadmap to our times: The end of the Cold War; the Kennedy assassination; the Iranian hostage crisis; the Challenger disaster; the 9-11 terror attacks; the crash of TWA flight 800 and so many more. He has been honored for his work with six Emmy awards for outstanding journalistic achievement, but even more important is the fact that Marvin Scott is a decent, principled man who exemplifies the highest standards of broadcast journalism. I am proud to declare Monday, Nov. 29th as “Marvin Scott Day” in Manhattan,” Stringer concluded.
Quite an honor for a kid from the Bronx who, at the age of 14, chased fire engines and celebrities with a camera and sold his pictures to local newspapers and magazines. Since joining WPIX in 1980, Scott has won six Emmy awards for outstanding journalistic achievement. He has worn many hats as anchor, reporter, writer, host and producer. He is currently the station’s Senior Correspondent and host of the weekly issues-oriented “PIX News Closeup” program, now in its 18th year.
Over the course of his career, Scott has made history as well as covering it. He was the first American reporter since the demise of the Soviet Union to go to sea aboard a Russian warship, as it sailed out of New York following Fleet Week. His investigation of cheating on citywide tests led to legislation making it a criminal act. It was Scott’s idea and initiative that led to the supersonic Concorde being awarded to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. On the 40th anniversary of the JFK assassination, Scott added a voice to history by obtaining Abraham Zapruder’s film of the shooting and using a portion of a 1965 interview he did with the Dallas dress manufacturer to synchronize with the 26 second film clip. Scott’s raw interview with Zapruder is now part of the permanent archives of the assassination at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
Among his assignments, Scott was in Wiesbaden, Germany after hostages were released from a hijacked TWA jet. He was at the White House during the tense moments before the release of American hostages from Iran; and at West Point for their homecoming. In 1984 he received a national Emmy nomination for his coverage of the McDonald’s massacre in which a gunman killed 21 people in San Jsidro, California. He was at the Kennedy Space center for the maiden launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia, and back a few years later to cover the Challenger disaster. On the first anniversary of 9/11 he gained an exclusive by flying over Ground Zero in the back seat of an F15 with one of the first two pilots to scramble after the terrorists attacks. With the Air Force Thunderbirds he pulled 9 Gs during a flight aboard an F-16, and with the Navy he’s dived beneath Long Island Sound in two nuclear attack submarines. Scott was honored for his coverage of the TWA 800 crash and won two Emmys for his coverage of the Congressional Whitewater hearings.
After graduating from New York University, Scott got what he calls his “basic training” at radio and television stations in the Midwest. After stints at the Mutual Broadcasting System, Channel 5 (then WNEW-TV) and CNN, Scott joined the PIX news team in November of 1980 as a general assignment reporter. One of his first assignments was coverage of the murder of John Lennon. One year later he was named co-anchor of “Midday Edition” on WPIX’s fledgling Independent Network News. For a period of time he shared the anchor desk with New York’s former first lady, Donna Hanover. In subsequent assignments Scott anchored weekend and weeknight broadcasts, and began hosting “PIX News Closeup” in 1992.
“Fifty years in news, and thirty years at PIX11, are testament to Marvin’s value. As impressive as these milestones are, Marvin earns the accolades he’s now getting because of the passion he brings to his work. His competitive fire and determination to get all sides of a story is inspiring to colleagues and competitors alike,” said PIX11 News Director Bill Carey.
Scott attributes his staying power to his honest, straight forward style of reporting. He maintains, “I’m a story teller and I estimate that over the course of 30 years I have told over 7,000 stories on our daily broadcasts.”
Much of his reporting has focused on politics. He has covered 16 presidential nominating conventions, 8 mayoral and gubernatorial elections. He’s interviewed every mayor since John Lindsay, and every governor since Nelson Rockefeller. Six U.S. Presidents have been on the other side of his microphone, among them Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and George Bush Sr. Other notable interviews have been with Israeli President Shimon Peres, then Foreign Minister, Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy and Watergate whistleblower John Dean. Henry Kissinger, Rev. Billy Graham, Theodore Sorenson, Eliot Spitzer, Astronaut Gordon Cooper, Larry King, Sophia Loren, Tony Bennett, Charlton Heston, and Jerry Lewis are among the others Scott has interviewed. Scott received an Emmy for the Lewis interview.
Scott recalls, “The most difficult interview I ever did was with a holocaust denier. I asked the right questions, but failed to shake him in his insistence that it never happened.” The most enlightening interview was with a 12 year old girl who said her faith in God helped her to survive a heart transplant. She died 8 years later and Scott delivered the eulogy at her funeral. Scott says the most difficult story he covered was the terrorist attack of September 11th. He reflects, “I wasn’t reporting something that was happening in some far-off place, but it was here and I was a part of the story, feeling the same anger and pain as our viewers. During the endless hours of reporting I was also concerned about the well-being and safety of my own family. I’m not embarrassed to say that there was a moment at the anchor desk that I was overcome with emotion and was teary-eyed.”
Looking back on his three decades at WPIX, Scott says he is most proud of his four Christmas visits with troops in Iraq. “We brought them a big New York hug and let them know they hadn’t been forgotten back home,” Scott says. And he brought them a taste of the Big Apple in the form of bagels, hotdogs and cheesecake, along with gifts from family members, all flown directly to the base by DHL. The highlight of the “PIX Christmas in Iraq” coverage was the live satellite hookups with soldiers in the desert and their families back home. According to Scott, “There is nothing more rewarding than bringing a smile to a homesick soldier’s face and receiving an emotional embrace of thanks for ‘making a difference’ for a special holiday.
“Marvin is a legend, not only in the PIX11 newsroom but within the broadcast industry. From his political reporting to his holiday visits to Iraq, Marvin’s interviews have touched lives and made history, and we are honored he has spent three decades on air at the station,” said Eric Meyerowitz, PIX11 Vice President/General Manager.
Despite a hectic schedule, Scott has always found time to give back to the community he loves. He is former president of the Television-Radio Working Press Association. He has hosted telethons and served on boards of charitable organizations and as master of ceremonies of such functions as the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, The Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guard and Airmen’s annual gala. When not in Iraq, he dons a red suit and serves at Santa Claus at the Friars Club annual Christmas party for needy children. He is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal, and has been installed in the Bronx Walk of Fame. In 2001 he was inducted into the coveted Silver Circle of the NY chapter of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to his seven Emmy Awards, Scott has received more than 30 Emmy nominations, a national Headliners Award, honors from Associated Press Broadcasters, and the Terry Anderson Award for “Professionalism in Journalism.”
During his 50 years in broadcasting, Scott has amassed a treasure trove of memories and is often asked about the most interesting person he has ever interviewed. Without hesitation, he says it was Dr. Martin Luther King. He sat and chatted with the civil rights leader along a highway in Mississippi in 1967. Scott recalls, “He shared with me his dream for the future when people would be judged for their character and not the color of their skin. He was so inspirational.”
Scott has never forgotten that it all started with his camera, chasing the fire engines in the old neighborhood and getting his first picture of a raging fire published in the Daily News. Photography remains one of Scott’s passions. His work has been exhibited at a number of New York galleries and he is planning to have another exhibition next year.
He takes great pride in watching his daughter Jill on television. She is a reporter on NY 1 and his son Steven, who is an accomplished comedian. His greatest pleasure is spending time with his year-old grandson Jake. Scott is married to the former Lorri Gorman and they live in the metropolitan area.
Scott says he’s grateful for the awards he has received over the years, but feels the greatest award is when people come up to shake his hand and thank him for his story telling. “I’m touched by their expressions of gratitude and appreciation for ‘telling it like it is.’ They treat me like a celebrity because they have invited me into their homes for so many years. But in reality I am simply a storyteller.”
As for the future, Scott says he has no intentions of retiring. He’d like to write a book, and continue to tell stories. He maintains, “Each day is an education, a new challenge. I’m still energized to do pushups with our troops in Iraq, and ask the tough questions in New York. I still love what I do and feel blessed. I’m a kid from the Bronx who each day continues to fulfill my dream.”