Award-Winning Journalist reveals how he overcame stuttering and illiteracy in a powerful new memoir.
Byron Pitts is known for breaking news as a solid "60 Minutes" contributor and "The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric"'s tireless national correspondent. Now he's making news with his inspiring life story, "Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges" (St. Martin's Press, $24.99). Growing up in Baltimore, Pitts kept a painful secret: he was "functionally illiterate" until he was 12. And the award-winning journalist, who has been hailed for his stellar broadcast work such as reporting from Iraq minutes after the fall of the Saddam statue; and the refugee crisis in Kosovo, was bullied throughout elementary and junior high school because he was a stutterer. Pitts overcame his speech challenge at age 20. The journalist, 49, who is also a born-again Christian, is one of the few network news stars to openly address his faith. He recently told Poyntner Online (Poynter.org), "I believe that I am a child of God and that his son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins so that I might live. My faith certainly shapes my life and thus shapes my work. Just as my race, my sex, my level of education, my interests outside of work. Should it? Whether it should or shouldn't, I think it does. But ultimately I'm mindful it is the truth that must direct my work." Pitts hopes his memoir, which is in stores now, will help bring awareness to an estimated 30 million American adults who cannot read, and to motivate anyone who has ever been told, "No, you can't" or "You're not good enough."—PHB