By CORRIE PELC, Valley Community Newspapers writer
Carmichael resident and FOX40 reporter Ben Deci has been quite busy since moving to the Sacramento area in September 2009. Recently married, with a new baby boy born this past April, and a new house in Carmichael has kept him busy on the family front. And that’s not even mentioning his recent journalism award or his volunteer community work.
Born in the “small refinery town” of Alma, Michigan, Deci’s broadcast journalism career has taken him to “every corner of the country” including Arkansas, Alaska, upstate New York and Las Vegas. It was while in Las Vegas, says Deci, that the position at FOX40 in Sacramento presented itself and he says it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“I flew out here to be interviewed and to look around, and coming from Las Vegas, from the desert, (here) there’s all these rivers and trees – it really spoke to me and I really fell in love with the area,” he recalls. “So I packed up my things and made the move out here to Sacramento.”
As a new transplant to the area, Deci found his job came in very handy in getting him to know the area very quickly.
“One of the great things about this job is you get the chance to really experience the gambit of what a community has to offer and it starts right away as soon as you walk in the door on your first day,” he adds. “I’m driving around the community all the time interviewing people, from people who are making news to the people who are caught-up in it. Every day I get a chance to sample what’s going on in our community and really explore it. I’m always going to some place new and talking to somebody new about their perspectives on what’s going on around here.”
New technologies, changes
Deci also says advances in technology, such as social media, has helped him build an even better rapport to FOX40 viewers, allowing them to give him instant feedback on his stories and even provide new insights for him.
“I’m always shocked at the diversity of perspective that one story or even one piece of information will engender,” he explains. “Everybody has an idea, everybody has an opinion about things, and the way we interact with people now helps us have those opinions delivered to us through feedback. It’s valuable, it’s very eye-opening, and it really is – to use a cliché – a brave new frontier.”
Viewer tip leads to major story
For example, Deci says while he was out working on a story last year, a viewer came up and told him he was always having trouble finding a handicapped accessible parking spot in downtown and midtown Sacramento as they were always full, and asked Deci to look into the matter. His research turned into a two-part report in 2011 that found Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employees that were using disabled placards for free parking and “gaming” the system.
“Every TV station has a motto and at FOX40 our motto is ‘What matters to you.’ One of the reasons I like working at FOX40 is that it’s not just a slogan in our case – every day at our meetings when we’re talking about what stories we should be doing that day, that’s really the test that we put a story idea to,” Deci says.
Award winning reporter
This story also ended up being the catalyst for Deci to be awarded with the “Best Investigative Journalism in Broadcast” award by the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter in October.
“To be able to construct something that I think is of value to my audience and that at the same time is acknowledged by professionals in the field as being well done…You can’t ask for anything more than that. It’s very gratifying,” Deci says.
Community volunteer with 20/30 Club
When Deci is not out reporting news for his viewers, he’s out in the community volunteering through the Sacramento Active 20/30 Club, which he says is a club of 20 and 30-year-old
men who make it their mission to help out the children in our community under the motto “A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.”
“That mission itself just really drew me to the club when I first moved to town,” he says.
Keeping it all in balance
As far as the future is concerned, Deci plans to stay with the career he loves while learning to balance both work and career, and continue to embrace technology and social media.
“It’s an exciting but also nerve-wracking time for people who do what I do, because we’re being forced to evolve,” he says. “There’s just more ways to connect with people and the best journalism does exactly that at it’s heart I think. So if you can embrace it and learn it and cultivate it, it’s a tremendous tool.”