When I first had the idea of LIGHTbeamers, one of my inspirations came in the form of a CBS reporter named Steve Hartman. Back in 1998-1999, I was a weekend News Anchor for a CBS-affiliate in Fayetteville, Arkansas (KFSM). Our nightly newscast followed CBS' national news coverage, which often ended with a "kicker" news story. Kicker stories were known in the business as "fluff" -- a feel-good story to help viewers feel a little better about all the bad news we had just reported! Anyway, Steve Hartman was fairly new to CBS and he'd just debuted a series called "Everybody Has a Story".  Hartman's subjects were always selected at random, by having the previous week's protagonist throw a dart at a map. Wherever the dart landed, Hartman would jet off to that location. When he arrived, he'd pull up to the nearest pay phone (oh my gosh, I'm old!) and blindly select a name out of the phone book. The story would naturally unfold from there. The gist of the series was that everybody does indeed have a story -- we all have something to say, a message we want to send, a mission that's important to us, a past worth treasuring. Hartman criss-crossed  the country delivering one helluva good story after another.  I was mesmerized by his storytelling.... and moved by the intention behind this series. I did not consider this "fluff". These stories mattered.
Hartman's stories always aired the last few minutes of CBS' telecast -- a time when all of us at the local stations were busy running scripts, feeding tape, and adjusting cameras and lights in preparation for our own newscast. Let's just say the newsroom and studio was jamming with activity just before showtime. But inevitably, when one of Hartman's installments of "Everybody Has a Story" came on, we'd all stop dead in our tracks to watch. I remember this vividly -- the awe and silence that enveloped the studio, our hearts swelling with emotion while we listened and watched these stories.  On many occasions, I can remember having to wipe tears away before looking into the camera with a warm smile and saying "Good Evening....." as our local broadcast began. My mouth already having to speak and deliver that evenings "top story", which usually meant some sort of bad news, while my heart still swirled with the Good News of one of Hartman's stories. The dichotomy was profound and was not lost on me.  I wanted more of Hartman! I wanted Hartman's stories to be at the beginning of the newscasts, not at the end! I was inspired as a young journalist myself to find the 'story' in people. To really listen to what they had to say. To shine the LIGHT so others could have a voice...

Remarkably, Hartman's series "Everybody Has a Story" continued on for 7 years, with Hartman producing more than 120 stories all across the country. These days, Hartman continues his great storytelling with more heartwarming and thought-provoking gems as part of his weekly feature "On The Road", which airs on "CBS Evening News" on Friday nights. 

In honor of this weekend's Super Bowl game, where attention is once again misplaced among deflated  footballs and inflated egos, I share with you this story. A true Steve Hartman original. One of my favorites of all time:

I'm not sure how he's done it, but Hartman has carved a place for himself in mainstream media in which he can share some of the best "fluff" I've ever seen.  I hope you all get a chance to follow his stories.... they are full of joy, compassion, hope, love and light.  Steve Hartman is a real LIGHTbeamer!



01/29/2015 7:52pm

That is so special... Watched it w/my football boy.

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