Veteran reporter Mike Owens is leaving KSDK (Channel 5) to pursue a career in the law, joining criminal defense attorney Chet Pleban and partner Lynette Petruska at Pleban & Petruska Law after Labor Day.
His last day at KSDK, where he has worked for 27 years, will be Sept. 3.
"I've been a reporter for 35 years," Owens said Friday night between newscasts. "It's been great fun. But after 35 years, maybe it's time to do something else."
Owens earned a law degree from St. Louis University in 1999 after attending law school at night. He went on to fail the bar exam three times. With kids at home he felt like he couldn't focus on passing the bar and decided to stick with reporting for awhile.
Now his son, Jack, is 17, and his daughter, Taylor, is 20. Last year, with tougher times in the media industry, he pieced together a furlough, some vacation days and some leave to study for the bar. He passed in July 2009.
Owens said nothing was pushing him out the door. He said it was just time to give another career a go.
"You can get stale doing the same thing over and over. I want to prevent that," Ownes said. "I'm not sad, I'm not mad, I'm not unhappy. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Owens is married to St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson. He said he looks forward to being able to voice a political opinion now and then once he isn't constrained by journalistic ethics.
Owens thanked the people he's talked to over the years that made his reporting possible.
"After doing this 27 years, I really appreciate all the people I interviewed over all the years who let me into their homes," Owens said.
KSDK news director Mike Shipley called Owens "one of the best in the business."
"We wish him the best in his new endeavors," Shipley said. "We've had a great relationship. He's been a tremendous asset to our operation for 27 years. We're sorry to see him go."