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BEST TELEVISION NEWS REPORTER Phoenix 2003 - Mike Watkiss

"I've been fired from every job I've had and I'll be fired from this one too," Phoenix's best in-your-face television reporter says with obvious pride.

Eschewing cell phones, pagers, and, most incredibly, computers, Watkiss relies instead on his quick wit and the timely thrust of his microphone into the faces of often reluctant newsmakers.

Watkiss, with the strong support of news producer Dennis O'Neil, consistently delivers solid reporting on an amazing array of topics ranging from murders (the O.J. Simpson case) to personalities (Liz Taylor) to the sexual abuse of underage girls at the hands of Mormon fundamentalists. Watkiss doesn't mind going solo on stories, carrying his personal $5,000 video camera and doubling up as reporter and videographer in a pinch.

A Stanford grad who studied anthropology before earning his master's in journalism from Columbia University, Watkiss developed a thick skin working eight years as a general assignment reporter for A Current Affair.

Maybe that's why Watkiss is impervious to the insults, jostling and nasty comments frequently tossed his way as he cuts through the crap and delivers red meat to viewers craving some real news.

Readers' Choice for Best TV Newscaster: Kent Dana

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