How Shep Smith went from local reporter to a controversial Fox News anchor and outspoken critic
- Shepard Smith announced that he's leaving Fox News after 23 years at the cable news network.
- The anchor had been with Fox News since its inception in 1996 and took on a reputation in recent years as an outspoken critic of some of his network colleagues and President Donald Trump.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Longtime anchor Shepard Smith announced that he's leaving Fox News after 23 years at the cable news network.Smith made his mark on air with a signature fast-paced and lean language broadcasting style, and built a career on covering legendary events like President Bill Clinton's 1998 impeachment trial, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
AdvertisementIn recent years, the network star publicly butt heads with Fox News opinion show figures and President Donald Trump, which some have speculated were the early signs of his discontent at the network. Here's how Shep Smith came from local reporting to Fox News' in-house rebel.
David Shepard "Shep" Smith Jr. was born on January 14, 1964 in Holly Springs, Missouri.
In 1987, Smith was two credits shy of graduating from Ole Miss when he dropped out to marry classmate Virginia Donald and take a Panama City, Florida, reporting job.Advertisement
By 1993, Smith's marriage had fallen apart and he took a role as a reporter for Fox affiliate WSVN-TV in Miami.
Smith then made his way to Los Angeles, where he worked as a reporter for the now-defunct news show "A Current Affair" and the Fox News Edge affiliate news service.Advertisement
As a reporter, Smith had a fierce tenacity and solid work ethic. He later told The New York Times that he "didn't like it when people didn't work as hard as I did,'' and "was aggressive and probably difficult and loud.''
After years of local reporting, Smith was among the first people hired by Fox News's co-founder, the late Roger Ailes, for the network's launch in 1996.Advertisement
In his first years at Fox News, Smith was at first reluctant for an on-camera spot. When he agreed in 1999 to appear as an overnight anchor, he was surprised that he liked it.
While at Fox News, Smith quickly moved up the ranks as he covered major news events of the day including Princess Diana's 1997 funeral, President Bill Clinton's 1998 impeachment trial, and the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.Advertisement
As a rising star, Smith himself hit the headlines in November 2000, when he was arrested and charged with felony aggravated battery in Tallahassee, Florida after an incident that happened while he was covering the presidential election.
Smith hosted programs "Fox News Report" and Studio B that turned around concise, high-speed, and engaging reporting that became his signature style at the network.Advertisement
In 2005, Smith traveled to New Orleans to report from the ground on the devastation left in Hurricane Katrina's wake, which officials had denied in the days after the storm.
Smith's high ratings paid off in 2007 when he signed a three-year contract that reportedly promised him between $7 million and $8 million per year, launching him into the same playing field as well-known anchors like NBC's Brian Williams.Advertisement
In 2013, it was announced that Smith would become the managing editor of Fox News' new breaking news division and the host of "Shepard Smith Reporting."
After years of his sexuality being the subject of New York City social gossip and reports by the now-defunct site Gawker, Smith openly talked about being gay in 2017, but said he never considered himself "in the closet."Advertisement
After his rise to the top of the network, Smith wasn't afraid to publicly spar around issues he was passionate about and with figures he disagreed with, even if it was a fellow star anchor.
Donald Trump's election and presidency provided Smith with repeated opportunities to take issue with the administration's stances and the network's reporting on the president.Advertisement
In an announcement that reportedly came as a shock to much of the network, Smith signed off for the last time on October 11, 2019.
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