2009 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
News Channel 3
Mike Watkiss is an award-winning reporter who joined News Channel 3 in Phoenix, Arizona in 1996. Prior to that, he worked as a freelance producer for two syndicated shows, Hard Copy and Real TV. Mr. Watkiss also worked on the syndicated news magazine A Current Affair as a general assignment reporter and later as the Los Angeles bureau chief and West Coast correspondent. Mr. Watkiss' first television job was with the ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City, where he worked his way from general assignment reporter to the head of the station's investigative/consumer protection unit.
Mr. Watkiss has covered many major stories, including the attack on the World Trade Center, the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the North Ridge earthquake. He has interviewed people as diverse as "Night Stalker" serial killer Richard Ramirez, notorious Texas "Pom Pom Mom" Wanda Webb Hollaway, and superstar Elizabeth Taylor.
Mr. Watkiss has an undergraduate degree in anthropology from Stanford University. He also holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York. He is a senior reporter for News Channel 3 and is a consummate professional when interacting with Phoenix FBI agents and the media coordinator.
Mr. Watkiss attended the Phoenix Citizens' Academy in 2006. He has featured the FBI by doing in-depth stories highlighting Phoenix's two Top Ten Fugitives—Robert William Fisher and Jason Derek Brown. He was eager to promote the FBI's Bank Robbery Task Force by doing a story on the implementation of the task force and its successes.
Mr. Watkiss was at the forefront in doing a story on the recent increase in armored car robberies and the solicitation for the public's assistance in identifying the robbers. He has covered several press conferences involving the FBI and its law enforcement partners throughout the year and has portrayed the law enforcement community in a positive manner. At the national level, he covered the Warren Jeffs case and the FBI's unlawful flight to avoid prosecution investigation and the arrest of Tony Alamo in Flagstaff, Arizona (Alamo was wanted out of Arkansas regarding the White Slave Traffic Act).
Mike Watkiss is a rare breed in today's electronic media. Mike puts professionalism first in order to foster an environment in which all parties involved can achieve an accurate account of what occurred.