Four weeks ago, television viewers not only said goodbye to 2022, but many said goodbye to one of the southland’s favorite news reporters, Beverly White, who had been on-air for NBC4’s 11 p.m. news for more than three decades.
“I’m gonna miss night side, to be honest,” she said recently. “This job — it takes you places you never thought you would go.”
Born on a military base in Germany and raised down the street from Ft. Hood in Texas, White graduated from the University of Texas at Austin — yes, she’s a Texas longhorn. After working at a few stations in Texas, White got a job in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Winters in Ohio are hard,” she said. “I’m a southern girl.”
White was ready to quit the business, or at least find a change of scenery, when she decided to visit a job fair at a convention of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). While the fair was closing down, she sat next to a woman at the NBC booth.
“We had a lovely chit chat,” White remembers. “She said ‘send me your tape sometime.’ I didn’t realize she was the news director.”
That same woman, Nancy Valenta, bought her a plane ticket to Miami to visit the station and soon hired White for a reporter job in Miami, where she worked for three years. Valenta moved to L.A. and called on White again to start work here.
“I got hired by the same woman twice,” White said. That was 30 years ago. She left Miami shortly after covering Hurricane Andrew, an event which still haunts the reporter’s memory.
“Hurricane Andrew was my swan song,” she said, noting that earthquakes are local, but hurricanes leave bad weather conditions in their wake for miles and miles. Conditions that last for weeks and weeks. “I still point to Hurricane Andrew. Palm trees for acres around, laying down on their sides. People living in tent cities.”
Still, through the ruin White has covered and a plethora of stories, somehow she has remained hopeful in humanity.
“The devastation of a story like that reminds us of the resilience of and goodness of people,” she said.
Her reporting style has been described as tenacious, but compassionate and she makes sure the complete story is told, covering both the bad and the good. Her reports with politicians, celebrities and covering events were factual, on time and informational.
White’s colleagues at NBC4 put together a “thank you” video before she happily retired from the local station’s night shift in December.
“Without Bev White on site, it just won’t feel right,” said colleague and news anchor Michael Brownlee.
White has served as the president of the NABJ-LA chapter and had been active in local chapters when she worked in Cincinnati and Miami. She encourages young reporters to fellowship with journalism peers.
“I do credit NABJ for my sanity and longevity,” she said.