John McCaa had been in my living room hundreds of times before I met him in person. That’s how it felt, at least, to me and millions of other North Texans who watched WFAA-TV (Channel 8) evening news during the 27 years McCaa was an anchor there. Such is the medium of television: Viewers feel like they know newscasters without ever being in the same room with them. When I finally was in the same room — a ballroom at the Four Seasons for a charity breakfast McCaa hosted — I found him to be just as warm, empathetic and levelheaded as he seemed beaming through my TV.
McCaa’s writing carries the same force of patient, seasoned candor. This spring, when he wrote a criticism of celebrity “watch me” newscasters, it felt less like a screed and more like a news veteran warning the rookies about the pitfalls of the job. He followed up with a tribute to military service personnel that carried the devotion of a son whose Air Force family taught him the best sort of patriotism. When McCaa agreed to contribute such pieces regularly as one of our Contributing Columnists, I knew readers would be thrilled to hear from him more often. Going forward, he will write about media, politics, Texas news and history (he holds a doctorate in humanities and history from the University of Texas at Dallas).
During his 40-plus years in journalism, McCaa served as president of the Press Club of Dallas and the DFW Association of Black Communicators. He has been inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame, the University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism Shuford Hall of Honor, and the Press Club of Dallas Hall Of Honor. He has also served on the boards at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, and the veterans nonprofit Carry The Load.
McCaa is retired now. He lives in the Rio Grande Valley with his wife, Nora. His first column as a Dallas Morning News Contributing Columnist is published nearby as part of our ongoing series on The American Middle.
Source: The Dallas Morning News