David Schechter has, in the past few years, done the following: witnessed an execution, stood on a glacier with a viewer, eaten Little Caesar’s in a Walmart parking lot because his electric Chevy Bolt ran out of juice on a 24-hour road trip, and forced sommeliers to pair champagne with brisket. That was “Verify,” the WFAA series that used road trips to challenge what a viewer believed.
He followed that up with “Banking Below 30,” which gobbled up a number of awards as it explored how, generations after redlining, banks were still not investing in neighborhoods in southern Dallas.
WFAA is to be commended for taking the risk on these investments. It’s rich storytelling, journalism that had an impact. That decision almost certainly ushered Schechter out the door. He has landed a new job as a national environmental correspondent for CBS News. He’ll have a few weeks off, and then he’ll get to work chronicling how we are killing our planet.
I worked with Schechter for about two years when I was an online producer at WFAA. He’s a mensch, the type of colleague who didn’t look down on a 24-year-old who had a habit of over-verifying (natch) sourcing for daily online stories. He’s the rare local news reporter who can cover just about anything like it’s his sole beat. I can’t wait to see what he and his photographer, Chance Horner, find—in their own self-defined brand of “cheerful nihilism.” (Horner is also leaving WFAA for CBS.)
Some notes on this episode of EarBurner: Genghis Khan and his Mongol armies really did kill so many people that they changed the climate. A 2011 study by the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Energy found that all the death allowed forests to regrow. About 700 million tons of carbon was absorbed by that re-growth, an amount “equivalent to the world’s total annual demand for gasoline today.”
Not to rub it in on David, who said that human-caused climate change didn’t begin until the industrial revolution, but here is the lead author of that study, Julia Pongratz: “It’s a common misconception that the human impact on climate began with the large-scale burning of coal and oil in the industrial era.”
Think of it as the green byproduct of mass murder. Maybe not the best path forward today.
Elsewhere, Tim Rogers incorrectly proclaimed that Seth Meyers hosted the Netflix show Is It Cake? It was actually Mikey Day.
And, finally, the definition of “ponce” is a “a pretentious, affected, or effete man.”
Schechter is only sort of fleeing Dallas. He’ll still live here, but his scope will be national.