Episode #320 — It’s a beautiful recurring theme. How God takes the sharp eye and caring heart of someone else to point to the gifts and talents that will come to shape our lives. For the celebrated broadcast journalist Paula Faris, that someone was her high school drama teacher, Mr. Barsuhn. He saw the talent she had for telling a story and cast her in the school play, but not in the role she expected.

“He didn’t cast me as an actress, he cast me as the narrator. I was like, ‘Come on Mr. Barsuhn! You’re saying I can’t act!’ ‘No! I want you to narrate the story.’ So I narrated several productions in high school, and people ask me, ‘Did you grow up wanting to be in broadcast news?’ And I was like, ‘No, I didn’t even know to dream for that!’ I didn’t grow up idolizing Diane Sawyer, or Barbara Walters, or Connie Chung, or Katie Couric, or any of those women who have had such prestigious and esteemed careers. I didn’t even know to dream for that.”

“So it was Mr. Barsuhn who recognized certain talents I had, and knew I was kind of toiling over what I wanted to pursue in college. And he said, ‘Have you ever thought about broadcasting? You can tell a great story. You have wonderful intonation when you’re narrating the stories. You can grip people, and bring them into the story.’ That was the first time that ever even crossed my mind. And so it’s because of him I decided to go into broadcasting in college.”

So a kind man’s thoughtfulness unlocked something for Paula, but it would take courage and persistence to make that vision a reality.

“Even then, he’s envisioning me as a storyteller, right? As a reporter. But I get to college, and I’m like – let me just focus on production. Let me focus on behind the scenes editing, shooting, producing – but not in front of the camera. I don’t have what it takes. So again, that fear continues. It continues to paralyze me throughout my life even then.”


Paula Faris is a celebrated broadcast journalist and former co-host host of ABC’s GMA Weekend & The View. Her book, Called Out: Why I Traded Two Dream Jobs for a Life of True Calling is just available in paperback wherever fine books are sold.

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On the Road with Paula Faris

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