SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Looking back on the 65-year history of WTOC, we have experienced a lot of joy as well as heartbreak. Eleven years ago this month, we lost one of our own.
Steven Shoob was hit and killed in 2008 while covering a news story on I-95. Shoob was not only a producer at WTOC. He wore many hats, and his tragic death is one we still haven’t fully recovered from. Steven was a good journalist, but he was an even better person.
He loved being in the middle of the action, and that’s often where he found himself. He was the overnight producer and photojournalist at WTOC. He always had one ear pressed against a police scanner.
“I don’t know how he did it, but he would hear a bar or a tone, and before a fire or other emergency was announced, Shoob would be running out of the newsroom with his camera in hand. He would even sometimes beat the police and fire department to the scene,” said WTOC’s Mike Cihla.
Almost every police officer, firefighter, and EMT in Chatham County who worked the midnight shift knew Shoob. They even allowed him to come up on a scene so they could use the light on his camera to shed light on the evidence left at a crime scene, or help an accident victim. They trusted him, and he was always wanting to lend a hand.
“This was one of the finest, most positive men, or person, you could ever meet. I never once heard an unkind word from him. Mike Cihla and I - together, I think we had that same sentiment having filled that role with Steven,” said retired WTOC anchor, Sonny Dixon.
Shoob was hit and killed about 5:30 a.m. on a Monday morning while covering an accident on I-95 near Georgia State Highway 21. His name is etched in the Newseum in Washington as a journalist who lost his life in service to his community. To his family, his co-workers, and his community, his life and work were invaluable, and his tragic death affected everyone he had touched in his 58 years.
Shoob was known as the Phantom Producer, because he would shoot stories in the middle of the night after the 11 p.m. News, before many started their day in the newsroom. He grew up in Savannah, and his college roommate was Chip Carter - the son of the future president at the time, Jimmy Carter. Shoob would go on to work for President Carter in Washington before coming home and starting to work at WTOC in the 1980′s.
“Steven was a man of faith who loved his daughter and his grandchildren. Look on his desk and the pictures he kept there were of his family,” Carter said.
“He was so dedicated to his work, family and God. He was just so funny,” said Steven’s daughter, Jenna Robinson.
Shoob always had a great sense of humor, and we would let you in on the fun on the morning show, whether it was Shoob finding a snake in the newsroom, or when we would dress up in costumes for our Halloween show. He also loved music and playing the guitar.
“Sometimes, when a person like that departs your life, especially tragically like Steven did - covering a story on I-95, hit and killed in traffic - there has created a void that will never be filled. It can’t be.”
Steven Shoob also had the distinction of winning WTOC’s first-ever Emmy. To give you an idea how well he was respected, there were many mornings when Steven was off, we would get a phone call from police or fire asking, ‘Where was Steven,’ because they were out at the scene of a fire or accident and didn’t see Shoob, and wanted to just check and see if he was alright.