SAN ANTONIO – Myra Arthur's birthday is Wednesday, and to celebrate we're giving viewers a chance to get to know her a little better. We've asked her about her favorite books and movies in San Antonio, what she would be doing if she wasn't a journalist and to dish some secrets about her colleagues.
Read the Q&A below, with questions in italics.
Tell us about your first day at KSAT!
I was so nervous but excited! Seven years later, it's a bit of a blur. I remember I sat with the Defenders in the newsroom at first because my desk wasn't ready yet. So, technically, my first-ever KSAT desk neighbor was Marilyn Moritz! (I would later move to sit next to Isis Romero and Justine Horne.) I wasn't sure whether I would be sent out to cover a story on my first day, but I sure was! I interviewed a mother about how her family was able to raise enough money to afford a wheelchair ramp into their home for her daughter. It changed their lives in so many ways.
You've been involved with one of KSAT's most ambitious and innovative projects ever: The News @ 9. What has that been like? What about the project has stretched you? What more would you like to try with it? How is that show different from a traditional newscast?
I’m always trying to improve and evolve in my career -- never get stale -- so I was thrilled when KSAT News at 9 came along. It's something totally different since it's a streaming show. The kinds of things we cover at 9 are different, too. We cover a lot of issue-based stories. Things that tend to affect most of us like legislation, community-wide efforts, finances -- even what we like to call "Adulting Hacks," where we talk about the things we all need to know how to do (hint: change a tire, pick the best produce at the grocery store) but frankly we're adults and feel like we're too darn old to be asking people for pointers. So we talk about 'em.
I anchor the 9 solo, and that's different, too. I want it to feel more conversational and off-the-cuff. Our set is right in the middle of the newsroom -- literally feet from my desk. I like to say it allows me to "Swivel, Stand, Anchor!" That also means my coworkers are right next to me while the show is streaming. It gives the show a more casual -- but still informative -- feel that I hope more people are gravitating toward.
Another fun fact about the show: we don't have to abide by the same time constraints in the way traditional newscasts must. It gives us the freedom to break the mold and try something different than the usual news format that so many us -- and you! -- are probably used to. *MY SHAMELESS PLUG* I hope you get a chance to check out the show Monday-Friday on KSAT.com, the KSAT app on your phone or tablet, or the KSAT app on Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, etc. Anyway you stream, as we like to say.
What made you want to be a journalist? What's the best thing about it? What's the most challenging thing about it?
I love to write. And I love to tell stories and share information. That's what led me to journalism. I got into this profession to give people a platform that otherwise wouldn't have one -- a way to share their stories. I believe we all feed off of each other's experiences in one way or another -- we learn from them, make decisions based on them, shape our community with them. I wanted to be someone who shares them.
If you hadn't become a journalist, what would you be doing right now?
I've always said I'd love have my own bakery.
More about Myra Arthur:
What's something no one knows about Spriester, Adam, Greg or Larry?
Little known fact: Adam Caskey loves National Fill-in-the-Blank Days. Ha, PSYCH. We ALL know he can't stand those! Here's something you don't know: Adam and I eat a lot of H-E-B oven meals for dinner at work. During the second half hour of the 6:00 show, Adam walks out of the studio to go preheat the break room oven for me so I can bake my dinner right after the show ends, eat and then get to work on the prepping for the 9 p.m. show.
Last year, you fought through Bell's Palsy, which kept you off the air while you were doing your physical therapy. How did that change or evolve your perspective? What has been the biggest takeaway from that experience? The biggest challenge?
I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy in November 2018. All of a sudden, the left side of my face was paralyzed. I was terrified and mad and uncertain and 100 other emotions. Would my face go back to normal? Could I keep anchoring? All things I worried about. All these months later, I'm still dealing with BP. I STILL have side effects from it and STILL have to do physical therapy exercises daily. I don't know if those symptoms will ever go away. But all things considered, I have recovered well, thank God.
I have been blown away by how many viewers reached out to me when I was in "the thick" of BP, as I call it. So many people told me they've had it or someone they knew had it. They shared the stories of their recovery -- or the ways they're still struggling with it today -- and all of it made me feel hopeful. People could have been cruel -- or could STILL be cruel. But KSAT viewers have never made me feel ashamed of what I've gone through and what I'm still dealing with.
BP also changed how I think and feel about my body. I'll never forget going to a pumpkin patch with my family last fall. A few weeks before that, my thoughts about my body were always wrapped up in silly insecurities that so many of us have. But at that pumpkin patch, all I wanted from my body was to be able to smile in a picture with my son. That completely changed my perspective.
The bedtime story your son most likes to hear?
Little Blue Truck, hands down. Other books come and go at our house, but Little Blue Truck is always a go-to. I have it memorized. "Horn went beep, engine purred, friendliest sounds you ever heard..."
Favorite books? What are you reading now?
I love a good thriller. Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, Big Little Lies -- couldn't put them down! Best book I've read recently was Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker.
All-time favorite movie?
No way I can pick just one. I’m going with Goodfellas, Big Fish and Steel Magnolias. (What a combo, I know.) I will watch these anytime!