MIAMI (CBS4)- How can a person you’ve never met have such a profound impact on your life? When you’re talking about Steve Jobs, there’s the impact we all share: his effect on the music industry, the movie industry, mobile internet, the list is endless.

But then there’s the personal impact: a connection I never really thought about until I heard the news that Steve Jobs had died. Why? Steve Jobs helped shape my career, and in the process, change my life.

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This is the story of the day two journalists unknowingly changed the landscape of television news with technology Jobs created.

Adrienne Roark is now the Vice President of News for KTVT, the CBS station in Dallas. But on the morning of June 19, 2009, she was my News Director here at CBS4 in Miami. Adrienne is always inspired by creative thinkers and when Jobs released the iPhone 3GS, she was one of the first to get it. At the time, I was the station’s investigative producer with aspirations to someday work as a reporter. As you’re about to read, that “someday” came earlier than expected.

In this column, we will go back and forth between Miami and Dallas so that you’ll understand why both Adrienne and I were so saddened by the death of Steve Jobs.

Gio Benitez
June 19, 2009 at 5 a.m.:

I was standing in line at the Apple Store in The Falls sending Adrienne an email: “I can’t believe I’m standing here so early for a phone. Did yours arrive yet?” She pre-ordered her iPhone 3GS. We were both excited about the phone’s new high-quality video feature. My phone rang.

Adrienne Roark
June 19, 2009 at 6 a.m.

An idea hit me as Gio and I were emailing back and forth; wouldn’t it be neat if he used the new video feature on his phone to get video and interviews with all the people standing in line? Then he could come back and put together a story for the 6 p.m. news. I called Gio and asked him if he knew how to use the new video feature. He said yes. Then I told him my idea. His response: “That’s great. I’ll do it as soon as I get the phone. Will this story be for an anchor?” I said, “Nope. You’ll do the story. So shoot a stand-up with the phone.”

Gio Benitez
June 19, 2009 at 6 a.m.

I’m not necessarily one to tell my boss “no,” so I quickly told Adrienne I knew how to work the iPhone’s video feature (I did not know). Now I was even more excited. Standing outside the store, I had met a quirky woman who said she just had to have the latest technology, and a young graphics designer who said he never wanted a phone this badly. When I got the iPhone a few hours later, I immediately began shooting with the plastic still on. Back in the CBS4 newsroom, Adrienne was telling producers about the idea.

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SLIDESHOW: Remembering Steve Jobs

Adrienne Roark
June 19, 2009 at 9 a.m.

I remember telling the team in our morning news editorial meeting and getting a few blank stares. It was a pretty bold idea, use the new phone to put together an entire story. It had never been done in our industry. But as I told myself that day, this is the true spirit of Steve Jobs; be creative, be innovative, and take risks.

Gio Benitez
June 19, 2009 at 12 p.m.

I got back to the station and began importing the video into Final Cut Pro. Then I recorded my voice using the Voice Recorder app. I imported that file into Final Cut Pro, and I spent the next several hours editing the piece for air in our 6 p.m. newscast that day.

That’s how television history was made and it wasn’t until a few days later that we realized the impact. Articles were written about us in China, South America, Europe, Canada and in the United States. It was fascinating to watch the story take on a life of it’s own on Twitter. Within hours, we had some 36,000 video views on our website.

Steve Jobs created the technology but he also inspired a News Director to be brave enough to try something different and that inspiration gave this then 23-year-old journalist the confidence to say, “Yes, I can do this.”

Gio Benitez
October 5, 2011 at 7:36 p.m.

I was working on a story for CBS4’s 11 p.m. news when an AP alert popped up on my iPhone 4: “BREAKING: Apple says Steve Jobs has died.” I stopped to take in the news. Everyone knew this might happen, but seeing those words on the device he invented became a very personal moment. Within minutes, for the first time ever, I realized the impact this man had on my life. This person I never met redefined me. My assignment changed. I would now be covering the death of an icon. I headed to the Apple store on South Beach where fans were taking photos of the dimly lit store-front. What an honor it was to tell his story.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Thank you, Steve Jobs.

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