Here’s why ABC15 newsmaker Steve Irvin left the station

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Here's why ABC15 newsmaker Steve Irvin left the station

“Last summer I came dangerously close to a heart attack,” Irvin said. “That’s the kind of news that underscores what we all know — life is short. None of us knows when it’s our time.”

After his announcement, Irvin, chatting on-air with co-workers, said, “I think the pandemic brought it home for a lot of people, as well. That’s why we’re seeing a lot of people reassessing their priorities.”

“My wife walked in and said you need to quit your job,” he said.

Irvin told The Arizona Republic that he also suffered chest pains in June of 2021. Instead of heading to work, he went to the emergency room.

Story Highlights

  • He made the announcement at the end of the 6 p.m. newscast on Monday, Nov. 22, citing recent health issues and the stress of the job as the main factors.

  • “And I began to think about the rest of my life and what I really want to do. Part of my plan moving forward is to lead a healthier life. This can be a very stressful job, and for someone with my health issues, it’s not always good for one’s well-being.”

Irvin has worked in TV news for 32 years, he said. He’s been at ABC15 since 2002. He joined the station as a morning anchor and reporter. Currently he co-anchors the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscast.

Irvin doesn’t shy away from taking stands on issues on social media

It’s a blow to ABC15. Irvin doesn’t pull punches in his reporting — he is not given to perpetuating the false-equivalency model so many journalists fall back on in a move that is so damaging in the current climate. There are not two sides to every story if one of the sides is a lie; Irvin’s use of social media was a good example of this. In other words, it seems unlikely that Irvin, unlike other TV news personalities who have recently left their stations, will be entering conservative politics anytime soon.

“I’m not leaving to enter any kind of politics,” Irvin said, laughing. Story continues

While he doesn’t offer opinions on the air, Irvin often holds forth on controversial issues on social media, a welcome stance when many journalists are afraid to offend part of their audience. He didn’t ask his bosses before he started doing this in 2017. He saw it as an easier to ask for forgiveness than permission situation. “I was sort of prepared to lose my job if my bosses didn’t like it,” he said. “And it turned out to be incredibly popular.”

Good for him. More journalists should do the same. “We’re not stenographers,” he said. “It’s not our job to go out and just record what two different sides or multiple sides have to say. … The journalist’s job is to seek the truth. I don’t think you’re doing your job if you’re just telling two sides of a story and call it a day.”

“When politicians tell you, you don’t have a say in your child’s education, they’re lying,” he wrote on Facebook. “You have all kinds of influence, and every right to know exactly what’s happening in your school. You have all kinds of ways to find out. … You can even sit in on your child’s class, or volunteer in the classroom. … This is about politics.” As an example, he addressed the politically-motivated outrage many parents have displayed at school-board meetings over curriculum.