Before winning seven Emmys and two Edward R. Murrow awards, before covering the Boston Marathon bombing and the January 6 insurrection, FOX 5 DC anchor and reporter Shomari Stone was a young journalist trying to make it in Fort Myers, Florida. Like any ambitious twenty-something right out of college, he was a little bit nervous and a little bit green.
“I would sometimes stumble on a live shot and rather than be kind, some people would laugh at me and say, ‘he's not good enough.’ And it really hurt me,” Stone says. “I’d sometimes cry.” But the kid who’d decided as a seven-year-old watching 60 Minutes with his family that he wanted to be like Ed Bradley when he grew up wasn’t going to let bullies knock him off his path. At the encouragement of his parents and the show’s main anchor Jim McLaughlin, Stone “used the pain to motivate myself to work even harder.” In a year, he landed a better position — reporting the news for CBS Miami — and stayed there for eight years. Since then, he’s held various high-profile posts, including as a correspondent for The News with Shepard Smith on CNBC.
Now, more than 20 years into his career, Stone expresses gratitude for his current work environment and explains what motivated him to tell stories to begin with. It’s the same reason the Ann Arbor, Michigan-born journalist speaks openly and often about what he calls his humble beginnings: working as a bellman at Embassy Suites Friendship Heights while attending St. John’s College High School when he first moved to D.C. and prior to that, washing dishes to help pay for tuition at Woodside Priory prep school in California.
“As a reporter and an anchor, [these experiences] really helped me understand people, whether it's people who have been overlooked or rejected or just not treated fairly,” says Stone. “I can understand how they feel. And that helps me as a person and with my interviews because I'm able to come with a different perspective. People feel comfortable speaking with me and inviting me into their homes for my reports because I can relate to how they feel.”
Stone’s co-anchor Angie Goff, who he says encouraged him to join FOX 5 when The News with Shepard Smith was abruptly canceled by CNBC last year, agrees that Stone has a knack for putting people at ease.
“I’m a big believer that no matter how smart or talented you are you can’t achieve success alone. You need extraordinary, enthusiastic, and compassionate people around you. Shomari epitomizes all that and more as a family man, friend, and teammate,” Goff says. “He has a natural ability to just make people feel better. You’d be amazed how much that can change the temperature of any room.”
Stone, who anchors the news in the evening before “throwing off my suit and putting on a polo and jeans” to be a field reporter at night, wouldn’t have it any other way. He appreciates how “innovative” FOX 5 is in its use of social media and the freedom he’s given to tell stories he cares about.
“I like being a voice for the voiceless, the people who are overlooked, the people who are being taken advantage of, the people who are victims of crime,” Stone says. “The D.C. crime rate now is relatively high and to really go into these communities and understand the pain that these parents and grandparents and guardians are feeling after their loved ones are victims of gun violence, to be able to tell their stories in an impactful way while trying to help solve the crime makes my job meaningful and gives me a sense of purpose as a journalist.”
Recently, Stone opened up about his weight loss journey to inspire others who may be struggling to make a change in their lives. He spoke on-air about reaching 299 pounds and doctors warning him of potential health issues. After getting off work late at night, he laughs,
“I ordered pizza so much that I literally got to know the pizza delivery guy on a first-name basis.”
Stone consulted a nutritionist at BodyTech Weight Loss and Health in Rockville who helped him see that he was “addicted to sugar.” After cutting out sugar, carbs, and alcohol; eating more fruits and vegetables; drinking a gallon of water a day and exercising, he shed 38 pounds in 43 days.
Not only does Stone no longer have sleep apnea, “I have so much more energy and stamina, which makes me a better journalist and news anchor because I feel better.” And he’s come to enjoy shopping for work attire and charity event ensembles — suits from SuitSupply in Georgetown or Ralph Lauren styles from department stores. He calls his style “conservative with a little flair” but adds that when he’s not working, you’ll typically find him in a University of Michigan sweatshirt. That’s where his son, Shomari Stone II, plays football.
Not long ago, Stone says, one of those Florida reporters who made fun of him back in the day reached out to him on Facebook and apologized. “She said, ‘I'm very sorry for the way I treated you. That wasn’t right.’” Stone responded how you would expect him to. “I said—‘I forgive you.’”
“I like being a voice for the voiceless, the people who are overlooked...to be able to tell their stories in an impactful way while trying to help...makes my job meaningful and gives me a sense of purpose as a journalist.” -- Shomari Stone