It is always exciting to have a journalism “celebrity” visit the Cronkite School but Bob Schieffer had a lot of valuable advice and memorable stories to share as well. I loved his story about driving Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother which he told during the staff meeting and the Must See Monday presentation. He made the comment that now we can’t go around not disclosing our intentions as journalists but I do still think that his story made a powerful point about taking the opportunities that arise to get the best story possible and as he said in the staff meeting it is important to always answer the phone because you never know where a phone call can take you.
He used this as a transition both at the staff meeting and Must See Monday to talk about the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination which I’m very glad he chose to discuss because as someone who was not alive during the point of history I didn’t know too much about how it changed the country. According to Schieffer this was the weekend “America lost its innocence,” and the beginning of TV news’ popularity.
Though it was somewhat disheartening I was glad that Schieffer shared his views on Washington and the current crisis. I appreciated his commentary on how Congress has changed over the years and his insight into how that is affecting our country now. During the staff meeting he also mentioned gerrymandering which I think is a huge issue facing the United States today. I also enjoyed listening to him share his opinions on how presidential debates should take place during Must See Monday and was pleasantly surprised at how openly he discussed these issues with us.
Most importantly he also had some great advice for new journalists like, “The best way to learn to be a reporter is just be a reporter.” I also liked that he said the best follow up question is “What do you mean?” During the staff meeting he also talked about the need for students to learn ethics and said that there was a time when kids learned ethics at home but that’s not always the case now. I certainly appreciated his point of view on the topic and it did push me to think about the social changes that have gone on in our country. I think that regardless of home life as journalists need to learn ethics and how they pertain to our work. He also touched on the need for journalists to learn about basic writing skills such as grammar stating, “we’re not learning too much about grammar texting,” which I wholeheartedly agree with.
Lastly, I appreciated his comment on how journalists need to present information people think they need. I think considering the audience is something journalists will need to consider more and more, especially as more and more information becomes available in the digital age.
By Jamie Killin