Hometown: Mountain Brook, Alabama (suburb of Birmingham, AL)
High School: Mountain Brook High School
College: University of Missouri (yes, I bleed black and gold)
Other Journalism Experience: 2013-2014: News Reporter, Time Warner Cable News (24-hour cable channel,) Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, NC; 2011-2012: Investigative Reporter/Fill-In Anchor/Supervising Producer, KTUU-TV (NBC) Anchorage, AK; 2005-2011: Weekend Anchor/Senior Reporter, KTVA-TV (CBS) Anchorage, AK; 2004-2005: News Reporter, KAKE-TV (ABC) Wichita, Kansas, 2004: News Reporter, WSFA-TV (NBC) Montgomery, AL; 2000-2004: Weekend Anchor/Investigative Reporter, KOMU-TV (NBC) in Columbia, Missouri; 1998-2000: Promotions Producer, WVTM-TV (NBC) Birmingham, Alabama.
Started at WISC-TV on: Aug. 11, 2014
Facebook: Matthew Simon Journalist
What is your favorite part about living in Madison?
It’s such an accepting community, full of genuinely nice people who seem to truly care about their neighbors.
What is the biggest news story that you've covered?
#1, Sarah Palin’s rise as a political star. During the six years I worked at KTVA in Anchorage, AK I served as the station's senior reporter, covering the political beat, including Sarah Palin unseating the sitting Republican governor and, later, her gubernatorial administration. In fact, on the morning Sen. John McCain introduced her to the nation, I happened to be filling in on the morning show, and ended up anchoring viewers through hours of breaking news coverage that forever changed state history. After she lost her vice-presidential bid I reported from Fairbanks for CBS News as Palin resigned from office.
#2, The BTK serial killer’s capture. Between 1974 and 1991 Dennis Rader murdered ten people around Wichita, KS. He was known as the BTK killer, which stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill." It was his infamous signature. He sent letters describing the details of the killings to police and the station I ended up working for, KAKE-TV. After a long hiatus in the 1990s through early 2000s, Rader resumed sending letters to KAKE-TV during the time I worked there in 2004. I subsequently covered his 2005 arrest and conviction.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Trying to be the best new husband and dog dad I can be along with; catching up with the backlog of programs on my DVR; reading lots of books; checking Facebook constantly; working out; trying to find health food that tastes good while being an overall foodie; rooting for my alma mater Mizzou’s sports teams; racking up way too many cell phone minutes keeping up with family and friends scattered across the country and, of course, being a proud news junkie.
I’m really huge on the whole living a healthy lifestyle. From eating healthy to making sure I’m consistently working out, (big P90X fan here,) I believe taking care of my health is a big deal. So today, in a nerdy/foodie sort of way, I get excited to go to health food stores.
What is your favorite kind of ice cream?
I’m more of a smoothie person. All time favorite- Super Punch Plus (strawberry, banana, papaya) from Smoothie King
What is the funniest thing that's ever happened to you?
Watching my mom’s reaction one Mother’s Day when, as an adult, I told her what I did ‘that one time’ she left me in charge of my sister after we lost power. I was nine. My sister was six. All the food had melted, including the concentrated juice in the freezer. I opened it, threw it on my sister. She slipped and fell. Then I made her clean up the mess. Then I made her take a cold shower. Then I threatened and scared her into not telling mom. And, until recently, she never did.
What is your favorite place to vacation?
Toss up between the mountains or the beach. Florida, Hawaii and the Bahamas: all beautiful. But you can't beat the serenity Alaska and North Carolina’s mountains offer.
Who is your hero and why?
My husband, Denny. His tremendous life and career holds this common theme: helping people. At a young age he became a paramedic. Denny used that experience when he joined the Air Force, serving his country as a medic. After his military service, he was an Alaskan flight paramedic, including work as a rural Alaska first responder. Then his dedication to community service deepened, as Denny accepted an EMS chief job. Years later, he returned to his military roots, traveling to Iraq as a private contract paramedic, helping save military members in an active war zone. He is now an emergency room provider. Many days it’s his job to serve those dealing with high trauma, like gunshot victims. In addition to his medical degree, Denny is a psychologist, specializing in helping those who have survived violence or are trying to deal with addiction issues heal from their mental trauma. Through his tireless efforts to help others, nothing is more important to Denny than working tirelessly to make sure his family is always taken care of.
What was your favorite band when you were in high school?
Third Eye Blind
What is your favorite sport to play or watch?
College football. I grew up in Alabama- Auburn country. Today, I love fanatically cheering on my Missouri Tigers during the football season. Finish this phrase: M-I-Z…(you’re suppose to yell back Z-O-U)
If you could possess one superhuman power, what would it be?
Being able to slow down time. I always feel behind.
What are you really bad at that you'd love to be great at?
Spelling. Yes, I’m truly a dyslexic journalist – and empathize it with kids who work so hard to make it through school.
What is your most memorable travel experience?
For work- Traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska to cover Palin’s resignation from office.
For pleasure- Our Chicago honeymoon. It included eating at one of the 10 best restaurants in the world.
What is the worst job you have ever had?
I’ve been fortunate to work professionally in TV news since I was 16 years old. It has, as you can imagine, had a full-circle range of good and bad moments.
Who would you most like to interview alive or dead, and why?
I have a fascination with historical figures. Part of my degree includes a modern American history minor, focusing on the 1950s/60s civil rights movement. Therefore anyone associated with this time period, (JFK, RFK, MLK Jr., etc.) are always on my list. In the same way, I’ve always wanted to talk to Abraham Lincoln.
What is your favorite tradition around the holidays?
Can’t beat being around those you love the most while eating decadent food. Simple things go a long way with me.
What is your favorite song of all time?
Can’t name just one. I’m more sentimental. I love hearing older music, and recalling memories from the time the song was popular.
What is your favorite movie of all time?
Crazy In Alabama- it touches on so many issues I’m passionate about: I really identify with the main character, because I grew up in Alabama. He reminds me of myself as a kid. I didn’t really care what others thought, believed in standing up for the little guy even when it wasn’t easy. The book has an overwhelming message that kindness matters, why civil rights are so important, and how domestic violence cannot be tolerated.
What is your favorite book of all time?
The Power of One- We all have truly difficult times in our life. The message in this book is about staying strong when times are bad or difficult.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
I remember my first grade teacher, Mrs. Nichols, introducing the golden rule to me. It’s so true. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
If you could relive any moment...what would that be?
1. Wedding Day- Getting to marry my best friend while being surrounded by our most dear friends and family was an experience I’ll treasure forever. So many of them are far away. So, for one day, I had everyone I care most about in my life joining us to celebrate.
2. The day I was told I was cancer free. That was pretty great, and started a passion in my soul to be an advocate for fellow survivors.
Where were you when September 11, 2001 occurred?
Attending college at the University of Missouri. My roommate woke me up. I spent the following weeks and years covering the fallout. But my first story was about a family in Rolla, Missouri, who painted their home in the image of an American flag.