Larry Seward never intended to leave Cincinnati.
Our newest senior reporter lived in College Hill until he was in fifth grade. He moved to Forest Park and lived there from then until he graduated from high school and headed off to college.
“My original goal was to go to Xavier and then come work at WCPO,” Larry told me. “I never planned to go anywhere.”
But he also wanted to be a journalist.
So one day as he was deciding what college to attend, his father sat him down and told him he needed to look at Ohio University because of the strength of its broadcast journalism program -- even though it was much farther away.
Larry ultimately chose OU and that took him away from Cincinnati -- the community he loved -- and his family.
When he graduated from OU in 2002, finding a job in journalism was difficult. But he eventually ended up taking a role in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
That role led him on to reporting jobs in Kansas City and Houston.
Even though Houston is a much larger market, Larry always had his eyes set on returning home.
“I would talk to people about my career and when I would say I wanted to go to Cincinnati someday, people would say, ‘Why Cincinnati?’” Larry said.
But this is home.
His grandmother lived in Avondale. His uncle lived in Mt. Auburn and Springdale.
“I’ve got family all over this town,” he said.
When he and his wife, Tracy, had their first child, that increased his desire to return home. His son, Larry III, who is now 15 months old, had seen his grandparents only three times.
“That was hard on me,” Larry said. “I love my family.”
Larry had interned at WCPO in college. He had also shadowed longtime anchor Clyde Gray when he was in high school.
So when we posted a job for a senior reporter, it was the right fit for Larry.
“It had to be the right spot, the right place,” Larry said. “This is my place. I grew up watching Clyde, Carol (Williams, Clyde’s longtime co-anchor) and the I-team. When I envisioned myself reporting, I was holding a WCPO mic flag.”
From our perspective, Larry is the kind of reporter we value. He’s smart and adept at finding stories that no one else offers. On top of that, he’s a local. His love for this community is a part of who he is.
Larry and his family are settling in, but he told me so far life in Cincinnati has been better than he expected.
“The best way I can describe it is the city feels like a girlfriend I had 20 years ago, and we’ve gotten back together,” Larry said. “And she’s grown up. Everything is comfortable, but different. I feel comfortable with everyone I meet, but it’s different and the city is growing.”
“It’s the same job, but it means more,” Larry said. “These are my people. I’m a half step quicker to jump on news because it matters so much more to me.”
Mike Canan is the Senior Director of Local Media Content at WCPO 9. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram at @Mike_Canan.