AN ENRAGED GUNMAN mistook David Brown as the person who stabbed his friend. The gunman found David, then just a teenager from West Philly, and pointed a gun at him. When he tried to shoot, the gun jammed. And David ran.
Then he wrote about the experience, and that got him interested in journalism.
He began writing for the school newspaper at Central High, and continued while attending Duquesne University. One day, while playing football, a medical-transport helicopter crashed on the field. He was an eyewitness to the events as they unfolded, so he wrote about them. The story ran in the school newspaper and was picked up by the Associated Press. While a sophomore in college, he had a story running in newspapers around the country.
"Journalism is an awesome responsibility," he said in class yesterday. "You have to get beyond the rhetoric. What are the facts?"
He is currently an executive with United Healthcare but he is also chairman of the board at WURD 900 AM, a conduit to the area's African-American community, and he writes columns for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously ran his own advertising firm. He has worked with young people for many years, introducing them to advertising and broadcasting.
At the radio station, David said that they try to present as many viewpoints as possible so that listeners can make informed choices.
"There is a right, wrong and a whole lot of shades of grey," he said.
Unlike other radio programs and stations, WURD strives find the proper balance rather than stir public reaction. Journalists, he said, are supposed to regulate the flow of public discussion - not telling people what to think but what to think about.
As a columnist, however, he tries to sway readers one way or the other.
"I never know how I'm affecting people until they act," he said. "Journalists can put fuel to a fire or dampen it.
He said that niche media, like WURD, is and will continue to be very important.
"Niche is being redefined everyday," he said. "It changes as we change the way we communicate."
The most important thing for niche media journalists is to retain authenticity.
"Without integrity," he offered," people won't rely upon it."
What stood out for you?
8 months ago