WRTV-TV Channel 6 will say goodbye to reporter Derrik Thomas after 40 years and about 12,000 stories when he retires at the end of June.
Thomas, a Chicago native, started his career in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before moving to Minneapolis, before then-WRTV News Director Bob Gamble recruited him to Indianapolis.
According to a story at WRTV.com, Gamble had hired a photographer from Minneapolis and saw Thomas’ work on the photographer’s tape.
“Bob said, ‘Why don’t you send me another tape of your work and we’ll go from there.’” Derrick recounts in the WRTV.com story.
“But I didn’t send a tape. Then about two weeks later, Bob called me again and said, ‘Did you send that tape?’ I said no. Then Bob said, ‘Forget about it.’ So I thought I had screwed up that job. Then Bob said, ‘We’re going to fly you in and bring the tape with you.’ And the rest is history.”
During his four decades with WRTV, Thomas won awards from United Press International, Sigma Delta Chi, Society of Professional Journalists and The Associated Press.
"While the news, people and technology has changed, Derrik’s storytelling, wordsmithing and ability to turn a phrase, has remained the same," said WRTV's current news director, Terri Cope-Walton.
Thomas described his time at WRTV as a “nice run.”
“One day you’re 25, and the next day you qualify for Social Security,” he said in the WRTV story. “There have been some crackerjack editors, photographers, and producers that assisted me in my longevity. I will forever be in their debt. The memories of Channel 6 will never fade.”