The Leaf Chronicle: At Austin Peay State University, network journalist Byron Pitts speaks of struggles

February 20th, 2012

The Leaf Chronicle
February 20, 2012
By, Allison Smith

CLARKSVILLE, TENN.Byron Pitts has come a long way since struggling as a stuttering, functionally illiterate boy.

Pitts, who spoke at Austin Peay State University Monday night, said he has used his struggles in life to his advantage, and they have catapulted him to his dream job as a contributing journalist on “60 Minutes.”

Despite being raised in a single-parent household, growing up poor and told he was mentally retarded and functionally illiterate when he was a child, Pitts said he was determined that he wanted to learn to read and go to college. His mother, who passed away in December, told him, “Smart people have to think through their problems. We have to wrestle with ours.”

By college, Pitts had read only one book for enjoyment, “The Old Man and the Sea,” but mostly because he liked the way the cover looked. In fact, his mother didn’t want him to read it because she thought it was too difficult and would only frustrate the improving reader. He read it anyway.

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