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Award-Winning Reporter Chronicles the True Transformation of Notorious Texas Inmate

NASHVILLE   Rickie Smith was called the most violent inmate in the Texas prison system. “Real Prison Real Freedom” is Smith’s story from birth to the present told by renowned reporter Rosser McDonald, who met Smith 30 years ago.

Rosser McDonald had a long career in broadcasting. He and his wife, Glenda, honor their roots in Oklahoma. They’ve lived longer in Texas than in the Sooner state, but, are proud “Okies.” Their four children were born Okies, too.

School was not a priority in Rosser’s life, to his mother’s dismay. Her reaction to many report cards was, “You can do better than that!” His best grades, and the most interest were in speech and drama classes, including the debate team. There was an academically wasted freshman year at Oklahoma Baptist University. Rosser says he got everything he needed that year — Glenda. She gave him new purpose for his life.

The attraction of radio and TV was growing and two months after the wedding, he announced he was quitting his job at a seismograph company so he could find one in radio or television. He had barely even watched anything on television because there was not one in the house. (His dad wouldn’t buy a TV until color came out.) This was in 1956 when television was nothing like it is now. Two weeks after leaving the blue-collar job, he went to work at a radio station for half as much pay, beginning the lesson that glamour and big bucks in the broadcast industry are limited to a few top personalities.

The fastest way to progress is to change stations, so after two years of radio, Rosser began a string of five-year jobs in different TV stations. The first was in Ada, the only channel that half its viewers in Southeastern Oklahoma could receive. It was great experience, doing news, weather, sports, even a farm show and commercials. The next stop was Tulsa, concentrating on news. Then to “the big time” – Dallas, becoming state government and political reporter.

In-depth coverage appealed to him and he began adding documentaries to the resume, several receiving awards, including a study of Texas Prisons. Documentary work added experience and skills needed for the next move. When significant changes in the WFAA-TV News Department occurred, Rosser accepted a position as Television Producer with the Radio and Television Commission, SBC, in Fort Worth, Texas. That ended the five-year cycles. He retired from that job 28 years later.

The author’s interest in penology began long before he met the people in his book “Real Prison Real Freedom.” He interviewed two men the day before their executions. The first was in “Big Mac” the Oklahoma prison at McAlester. The other was in Texas. Prison life became a solid interest in 1990, while researching a documentary for use on NBC stations about prison ministry. Tom Landry, the newly fired coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was host of that program. Landry had been personally involved in prison ministry many years.

“Real Prison Real Freedom.” is not a critique or a how-to volume, according to the author, “it’s just a complex, compelling story that needed telling.”

Fairgoer2013
Hello! It's great to see you live!
Fairgoer1920
Hi! Your book is very interesting. What was your inspiration when you wrote the book?
Fairgoer2013
How long have you been working on journalism and broadcasting industry?
Mira
Share a favorite quote from the book. Why did this quote stand out?
Fairgoer991
How did you came up with the book title?
Marco
Hi! How did you come up with the names of the characters on your book?
Fairgoer2128
What would you advice to young peoplw who are taking their first steps on a criminal path?
Fairgoer2073
Why do people commit crime?
Fairgoer2128
Tell us about an original story you found and how you presented it in a creative way.
Fairgoer2127
Any death treats when you're still in the media.
Fairgoer383
What is the reason behind of all these crime they have done?
Mira
What motivates the actions of each of the characters in the book?
Mira
Which character would you most like to meet in real life?
Fairgoer383
Do you believe that one day the world will be free from racism?
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Award-Winning Reporter Chronicles the True Transformation of Notorious Texas Inmate

NASHVILLE   Rickie Smith was called the most violent inmate in the Texas prison system. “Real Prison Real Freedom” is Smith’s story from birth to the present told by renowned reporter Rosser McDonald, who met Smith 30 years ago.

Rosser McDonald had a long career in broadcasting. He and his wife, Glenda, honor their roots in Oklahoma. They’ve lived longer in Texas than in the Sooner state, but, are proud “Okies.” Their four children were born Okies, too.

School was not a priority in Rosser’s life, to his mother’s dismay. Her reaction to many report cards was, “You can do better than that!” His best grades, and the most interest were in speech and drama classes, including the debate team. There was an academically wasted freshman year at Oklahoma Baptist University. Rosser says he got everything he needed that year — Glenda. She gave him new purpose for his life.

The attraction of radio and TV was growing and two months after the wedding, he announced he was quitting his job at a seismograph company so he could find one in radio or television. He had barely even watched anything on television because there was not one in the house. (His dad wouldn’t buy a TV until color came out.) This was in 1956 when television was nothing like it is now. Two weeks after leaving the blue-collar job, he went to work at a radio station for half as much pay, beginning the lesson that glamour and big bucks in the broadcast industry are limited to a few top personalities.

The fastest way to progress is to change stations, so after two years of radio, Rosser began a string of five-year jobs in different TV stations. The first was in Ada, the only channel that half its viewers in Southeastern Oklahoma could receive. It was great experience, doing news, weather, sports, even a farm show and commercials. The next stop was Tulsa, concentrating on news. Then to “the big time” – Dallas, becoming state government and political reporter.

In-depth coverage appealed to him and he began adding documentaries to the resume, several receiving awards, including a study of Texas Prisons. Documentary work added experience and skills needed for the next move. When significant changes in the WFAA-TV News Department occurred, Rosser accepted a position as Television Producer with the Radio and Television Commission, SBC, in Fort Worth, Texas. That ended the five-year cycles. He retired from that job 28 years later.

The author’s interest in penology began long before he met the people in his book “Real Prison Real Freedom.” He interviewed two men the day before their executions. The first was in “Big Mac” the Oklahoma prison at McAlester. The other was in Texas. Prison life became a solid interest in 1990, while researching a documentary for use on NBC stations about prison ministry. Tom Landry, the newly fired coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was host of that program. Landry had been personally involved in prison ministry many years.

“Real Prison Real Freedom.” is not a critique or a how-to volume, according to the author, “it’s just a complex, compelling story that needed telling.”

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