Dear Bill Leslie

In the 26 years I’ve been on this earth, my family and I have always turned to WRAL’s unrivaled reporting and you, as an incredibly talented journalist.

Bill, you have been a fixture in broadcasting and our community for more than three decades. From your start as a “whippersnapper” in the business, as you described yourself on the WRAL special that aired Thursday night, to being a recipient of multiple awards for your work, it has undoubtedly been an outstanding career. But I know your work does not just include journalism, as music has always been a passion. Your series of solo albums have deservedly earned much acclaim and I’m looking forward to hearing your new release later this year.

I have always had an affinity for journalism and broadcasting. I started out with an ambition to be a meteorologist on television (working for WRAL, of course) but that transformed into a love for journalism as a whole later on. I fondly remember my love of broadcast journalism was so vast that a trip to the N.C. State Fair would not be complete without a visit to each of the local news stations’ tents that were set up at the fairgrounds. My favorite was WRAL and it was a pleasure to meet you a few times throughout the years. I’m sure I nervously said something to the effect of: “I want to get into the journalism industry just like you!” I’ve always been fascinated by journalism and have kept it at the forefront of my life, including practicing it to an extent with this blog since 2008.

Here is a funny story that I rarely tell. I majored in sport management and minored in journalism at N.C. State, not necessarily by choice. When I applied for admission, I selected the communication program at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to, of course, study for a career in journalism. I chose sport management as my backup, if you will. As it turned out, I was only accepted into the sport management program and later decided to add the journalism minor. I was disappointed, at first, that I was not accepted into the first program I chose, but later realized that I would get the best of both worlds when I took the path I ended up venturing on.

I say all of this because I know without a doubt that you, Bill, have had a profound impact on my view of and interest in journalism. You have always been a personable figure, both in real life and on television. There has been a calming aspect of the way you deliver the news to viewers day in and day out. That, combined with your constant pursuit of the truth in reporting, care for key issues such as the environment, and unwavering compassion for your community make you one of the best journalists – and humans – ever.

Thank you, Bill, for everything. Here’s to a blissful retirement!

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