Inside the Zevely Zone

Jeff Zevely is a top reporter in San Diego, California, whose specialty is sharing good news. We first met in July 2020. He interviewed me for his outlet, CBS News 8, after I won the annual “Who Was? History Bee.” We spoke again this year for a TV segment about my role as a Kid Reporter.

After 25 years as a broadcast journalist, Zevely found that his favorite job was crafting feature stories that encourage others. He was enthusiastic about teaching me how to read, write, and tell better stories for kids so that they can make a positive difference in the world. 

“My segment, The Zevely Zone, allows me to pick feel-good stories about the community,” Zevely said. “We focus on telling stories from the heart that make people realize life is worth living.”

Viewers are so grateful for the inspiration that they sometimes stop Zevely at the grocery store to say, “Thanks for focusing on positive news.”

Zevely is a firm believer in the importance of journalism. “I think the news, in general, makes the world a better place, he said. “It allows people to interact and share information.” His favorite story of 2020 was helping two men who were homeless during the pandemic find a home.  


Quade got a lesson in broadcast journalism from Jeff Zevely, a top reporter in San Diego. 


Crafting the perfect story takes time and patience. After pitching, planning, and outlining a story, Zevely conducts interviews. Next, he reviews and logs the footage and writes a script. The content gets passed to photojournalist Scott Hall, who edits the piece and adds photographs. Then the broadcast team finalizes the segment for TV, online and social media. 

“We can spend eight hours making two minutes of TV,” Zevely said with a smile. “It takes a lot of passion and a lot of effort.” He credits his co-workers, saying that it’s a group effort to create the stories we see on air. 


“We need kids to be engaged in America and in our democracy,” Zevely, a reporter for CBS News 8 in San Diego, told Quade.


Zevely said that understanding the news and staying informed is an important part of living in a democracy. “In 2020, America needed journalism more than ever because of the pandemic and because of the election,” he said.

The broadcast journalist encourages all kids to be news writers and readers. “We need kids to be engaged in America and in our democracy because, really, if people aren’t informed, I feel like this country could be in big trouble,” he said. “We need young storytellers to get involved and be passionate about journalism and inform other people and make people want to seek out information about our country.” 



Photos courtesy of the author