CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former Gazette reporter and Manhattan native Dave Lieber still gets excited when he meets people from West Virginia.
“Oh my God you’re from Logan?” he’ll say when he meets people. “The politics in Logan are corrupt. Oh my God you’re from Morgantown? You are a party animal!”
After working as the statehouse reporter for the Gazette for two and a half years starting in 1980, Lieber went on to become an award-winning newspaper columnist and is now a professional public speaker.
He spoke at the University of Charleston Tuesday evening as part of its Speakers Series.
Lieber, who grew up on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, told attendees about how he shed his “rough and gruff personality” after moving to West Virginia.
“I’d never lived in a place where everyone knew your mom, and you were held accountable for what you did,” he said. “I’ve never experienced that before or since.”
Lieber says that his time in West Virginia was the most formative experience in his life.
“You taught me when I moved here how to say hello,” he told the crowd Tuesday. “You taught me when I lived here how to be a good person, and I hope that I proved that you taught me how to say thank you, so thank you, Charleston, West Virginia.”
Lieber became a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1983 to 1993 and for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from 1993-2013. Since May 2013, he has been a columnist at the Dallas Morning News and a public speaker.
Much of his talk on Tuesday focused on adapting after his move to Texas.
“I made a terrible mistake,” he said. “I just assumed that Texas was like West Virginia…