Unfortunately for me I can’t find the direct quotes I took during Aaron Brown’s visit to our class this past week. Fortunately for me, Aaron’s lecture was unforgettable. I really enjoyed Brown’s personal tales about Walter Cronkite and I was once again reminded the invaluable worth of hard work and perseverance.
I felt lucky to gain a little insight on the namesake of our school, Walter Cronkite. Sadly, he passed away before I entered the school and all I knew about him was the little professional background we students get in our introduction to journalism courses. I was intrigued by the way he humanized Walter- joking about how cheap he was and explaining that his anchoring voice was the same as his day-to-day voice. However, no matter how much he poked at Cronkite it was obvious that Brown held him in the highest of regards saying even that talking to Cronkite was akin to talking to God. It was comforting to know that the man after which we named our school and thusly, modeled our education after was someone who was both loved and respected.
I was also glad to hear the account of what Brown called his “Kennedy moment”- likening his coverage of 9/11 for CNN to Walter Cronkite’s reporting of Kennedy’s assassination. I know Brown personally, and though I had heard from him many times that his success was based on sheer determination I wasn’t really aware of the weight of that claim until I learned about his experiences in journalism in detail. Brown explained that when he was a boy he told his mother that he wanted “Walter Cronkite’s job” and from that moment on he never doubted it for a second. He worked the hardest, did the most, told us that “everyone hated [him] because they knew he’d be the one to stay an hour later”, to make the one last call that put him on top. And then it happened. Aaron Brown did what Aaron Brown does and seized the moment. I can’t quote him directly due to the absence of my notes but one of the last things he told us what he believed about tragedy and journalism: a journalist never hopes for a disaster, but when calamity strikes opportunity for greatness arrives and should be welcomed.
I greatly enjoyed hearing Aaron speak about his life in the field of journalism and look forward to the possibility of achieving my own greatness.