Some people choose not to let their past affect their future. Beth Karas’ past shaped hers.
Karas began working as an assistant district attorney (ADA) in New York City, and from that position realized her love for discussing court cases.
After eight years as an ADA, Karas decided to resign from her position, and wanted to do something different. She remembered her late brother’s suggestion to become a reporter because she liked to talk so much.
The date of Karas’ resignation coincided with the anniversary of her brother’s passing. She took this as a sign to pursue a career in courtroom reporting.
Karas reported for “CourtTV” as a commentator on high profile homicide cases with high profile defendants, such as OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony.
She said that in her line of work she has seen things that can send people to dark places. Karas described images that never really leave her.
Karas is often asked the question, “How do you deal with it,” “it” being the constant reminder that humans are capable of doing terrible things to strangers, partners, children and friends, Karas said.
Karas explained that she feels her tumultuous childhood set her up for her career in court case reporting.
She said that with an alcoholic father, mentally-ill mother and two disabled brothers, “I had a lot of tragedy and chaos [in my life] as a child and a young person,” said Karas.
Karas’ family lacked in providing her with guidance. Yet, this motivated her to take every opportunity presented to her to speak with and mentor young people.
Karas said her past compelled her to impart her insight on students and ‘pay it forward.’
“I think I’m a little bit of a teacher because I enjoy sharing my knowledge with people, I really enjoy it,” said Karas.
Karas has given a few lectures and wants to do more. She said she would not be turning down an offer to teach at the college level if it were offered to her.
Karas is enchanted by learning and said she is always either obtaining new information or boning up on old. When she’s not watching “Ray Donovan” or “Homeland,” she’s got her nose in a non-fiction book that she will likely finish over the weekend.
Currently, Karas is reading “A History of the Modern Supreme Court,” which she said is not her typical light read, but she is planning to finish in the pursuit of becoming more knowledgeable.
Karas gave a few words of her wisdom to young journalists during the 2020 College Media Conference.
- Reputation is everything. Karas said your audience needs to trust you as soon as they see your face on the screen or read your byline.
- Do your homework. In the race to be first or right, Karas recommended being right.
- Stay true to yourself, but learn how to keep your opinions out of your professional work.
- Look for impactful stories, you might end up getting to have lunch with OJ Simpson.
Find this story on the College Media Association’s blog: http://cmanycspring.com/15-minutes-of-the-day-with-beth-k/