Monday, June 1, 2009

Leon "Sgt." Carter

By Larry Young Jr.

He walked into the newsroom of the Sports Journalism Institute and immediately commanded respect—sort of how he does at New York Daily News, everyday.

He shook hands with and hugged his fellow staffers. They caught up for a few moments. Then he took a seat.

He took a minute to check his blackberry. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out another. He and 1994 SJI alum Gregory Lee had been exchanging text messages all morning. And Lee had been telling the class, “Mr. Carter is coming.”

Now, he was here, and it was time to meet the man known as Sgt. Carter, a man who is allergic to Facebook. It was time to meet the man who refers to twitter as “glitter.” It was time to meet the man that refers to alcohol as “goo-goo.”

Most important, it was time to meet the man we heard so much about.

After the first three days with him, I learned he’s all about being the best at what he does. I learned he’s all about getting the scoop—not matter the time. And he’s all about out-hustling the competition.

To relay his message, Mr. Carter played “The Paper,” a movie chronicling the life of a New York editor juggling the pains of a stressful job and pregnant wife.

As Mr. Carter would say, that’s “adversity.”