WRAL reporter Bryan Mims, who arrived in Raleigh in 2006 via South Carolina and Arizona, is leaving the station in late June.
Mims told The News & Observer on Wednesday that he and his family — his wife and three sons, ages 10, 12 and 14 — are moving to the Atlanta area, where they will be closer to family.
He has a plan beyond that, but the details aren’t exactly concrete.
The family’s ultimate goal is to hit the road and travel across America for at least six months to a year. Mims says that plan would require him to find a remote job in public relations or marketing and work on the road (his sons are already enrolled at the Virtual Academy in Georgia). He’s had a few offers, but so far nothing quite matches his needs.
In the short term, the South Carolina native has freelance work for local news outlets in Atlanta, and the family can still hit the road in late summer, even if it’s only for a few months. If the remote PR job and longer-term travel plan don’t work out, Mims says he’ll likely end up working in television news in the Atlanta area and settling there.
But travel — for a while, at least — is going to happen: “If nothing else, we want to go away for a few months and fund it with our savings,” Mims said.
The goal, he says, is to have an adventure with his family and tell stories from the road, if not for a network or media outlet, then on his own social media sites.
“I would love to go out there and tell stories about America,” Mims said. “We want to travel the country and tell stories about how kind Americans are to each other, how we are not as divisive as always portrayed in the media. We hope to tell stories of the kindness of people, united in America.
Mims does all of his photography and editing at WRAL, and he’s an accomplished documentary producer, so that part will come naturally.
He points out that his decision to move on has nothing to do with wanting to leave WRAL specifically.
“I’ve been here almost 16 years and I just feel like there’s another movement in me, another adventure,” he said.
Mims worked as both a reporter and weekend anchor at the station owned by the Capitol Broadcasting Company.
“WRAL has been a great place to work. I have nothing negative to say about WRAL. I think it’s a great TV channel, it’s very community-oriented, and it has nothing to do with my working environment at WRAL. It’s about my desire to try something different. I want to try this adventure on the road and if it doesn’t quite work out, then at least I’ll have something in Atlanta.
A storyteller on the road
As Mims talks about his plans to become – at least for a while – a traveling storyteller, a section of his WRAL bio page suddenly seems prescient: “My hero in the industry is the late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt, himself a Carolina native,” Mims wrote of the “On the Road” reporter. “From the age of 15, I knew I wanted to do what he did. I wanted to travel America – and the world – in search of short stories (or just a good story captivating).
In fact, according to her biography, this isn’t the first time Mims has wanted to go for a walk. He and his wife have done it before, in 2004, before they moved to North Carolina.
“We bought a tattered 1982 Fleetwood trailer, only 15 feet long, and hauled it through 10 western states,” he wrote on the WRAL website. “During this time, we also traveled with a church in Phoenix, Arizona to shoot documentaries in Paraguay, Brazil, Honduras and China. In 2005, my wife and I spent three months in Honduras producing documentaries about Church missions.
During his journalism career, Mims has won three Regional Emmy Awards. In 2010, he was awarded for his coverage of the earthquake in Haiti (he went there with an engineer and a photographer, embarked with the 82nd Airborne from Fort Bragg) and for his political series “Main Street North Carolina”, in which he traveled North Carolina speaks to voters. In 2003, he won for a feature film titled “Spirits Anyone? about “a supposedly haunted tavern” in Tempe, Arizona.
It doesn’t matter if the topic is about caring citizens, earthquakes, politics or ghosts, it’s all about story for Mims.
“I love telling stories. I love creating stories with words, audio and video, and I always will to some extent – I don’t know what it’s like yet,” he said.
“I take that leap of faith and find out what the road is like as I progress. I don’t know what’s next and I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing in two or three weeks, but I’m just trying to keep the faith.
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This story was originally published June 24, 2022 3:43 p.m.