A belated congrats to my friend and sometimes partner Shannon Smith, who's probably home right now smooching on her newborn son. Sure he's cute now, but if I know Shannon's husband John, that kid will be a chiseled He-Man by the time he's 13. Then who'll be gettin' em some sugar, hmmmmmmm?
I met Shannon on her very first visit to El Ocho. Then just a job candidate, she rode with me on a story assignment as a kind of test. Needless to say, the willowy Clemson Grad passed - quickly proving herself to be alot tougher than she looked. After taking the job, she soon assumed the punishing mantle of 'quarterback reporter'. You know - the one who goes LIVE! from the late-breaking news scene every night? Why, Shannon even allowed herself to be lashed to a seaside patio without so much as an umbrella while Hurricane Isabel pummeled her and her merry band of photogs. I still got sand in my ear (and gear) from that long week. Not that Shannon complained. Instead she impressed her crack team of smelly fellows by displaying a trait not often found in the female TV news species: The woman, is low-maintenance.
And smart - for when the chance to work on our marathon a.m. newscast presented itself, she traded the gritty dinner-time crime scene beat for the frothy squeal of early morning live shots. There she remains, having made quite a name for herself as the region's favorite on-scene sweetheart. Of course, readers of this blog may know Shannon from her other role: Miss American Idol. Ever since she chatted with an unknown Fantasia moments before her first audition, Shannon has owned the local Idol beat. A year later I joined her and together we've since documented the froth from every conceivable angle. Local finalists, countless trips to L.A. and thousands of delusional wannabes later, Shannon and I have shared many a giggle at seeing the lunacy up close. Which is why I'm eager for her to return from maternity leave. I'd be her photog ANY day - and that, I assure you, is not something I say alot.