Veteran San Francisco Bay Area reporter Rob Roth has retired from Oakland Fox owned station KTVU after 38 years.
On Roth’s last day, San Francisco Mayor London Breed honored Roth in a surprise ceremony, telling Roth the city appreciates his reporting and wishing him a “wonderful retirement.”
Roth started his career in newspapers. He worked at the Alameda Times Star and the Sacramento Bee, before being hired by legendary KTVU news director Fred Zehnder, whom he credited as being one of the most inspiring people he’s met.
“He was the legendary news director who hired me from the print journalism world and brought me to KTVU.” said Roth. “He really built the news department into something of a powerhouse. Fred not only hired me but mentored and challenged me in his unassuming way. I really owe the past 38 years to him.”
“I think I always will be interested in the news,” Roth told SFGate. “That’s what got me here in the first place. I have people I adore at the station and I root for them.”
He also said that people not in the business don’t understand the deadlines and how reporters are expected to be “authoritative experts on everything.”
“On Monday, it could be a nuclear power plant and then a flood on Tuesday,” said Roth. “Sometimes experts can’t get back to you close to deadline; sometimes you worry it wasn’t in-depth enough or the context wasn’t right. People expect stories to be like New Yorker magazine articles but sometimes we only have a few hours. The story you’re working on is your child for that day and you put everything you can into it—and sometimes it’s enough and sometimes it’s not enough.”