Publication pioneers create path for young digital media reporters
How people receive their news has changed drastically over the years. It started with word of mouth, led to printed news, to broadcast, and now it is currently the digital era of news, with the influences of social media. But there are some people in the T.V. broadcast era of news, that truly paved the way and opened doors for those in the digital world today.
These people could essentially be called “Titans of American Journalism.” The elite men and women whom during their professional careers and even into their retirements were trusted by the nation to deliver their news. Walter Cronkite, Diane Sawyer, Tom Brokaw, and Barbara Walters, were all respected hosts and television personalities.
Walter Cronkite was titled, “The Most Trusted Man in America,” during his career. Born in 1916, he was one of the earlier important television anchors and was a common household name during his time as an anchor for the “CBS Evening News.” This job started in 1962 and continued until his retirement.
“I built my reputation on honest, straight-forward reporting. To do anything else would be phony. I’d be selling myself and not the news.” — CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite
This pullout quote by Cronkite can be applied to journalism today, in both the professional and high school fields. The job of a journalist is to state the facts and tell the story accurately, leaving themselves impartial to the cause.
The Feather Online is planning on attending the upcoming Roger Tatarian Symposium to explore fake news and learn ways to identify bogus media stories at Fresno State, Feb. 26.
We are excited to attend this important symposium and excited to interview the speakers. See you all tomorrow! #WeAreMCJ #fakenews #SJW2019 #thefeather @FSMCJDept @institute_trust https://t.co/mKT9PedbxY
— The Feather Online (@thefeather) February 25, 2019
Executive Director of the Fresno State Institute for Media and Public Trust, Jim Boren, respects Cronkite greatly, especially the impact he had on the nation. He believes that the news industry could benefit from a similar mindset to the one Cronkite carried in his professional career.
“Cronkite likely had the most impact on the nation,” Boren said. “If all journalists today followed Cronkite’s style of straightforward news reporting, the news industry would be much better off today.”
Arizona State University named their school of journalism and mass communications after the beloved T.V. personality.
Diane Sawyer is not just known for her broadcasting career, but also for serving as a literary assistant to President Richard Nixon. She has held a multitude of jobs in the industry, starting out as a weather girl, she became a reporter and eventually a co-anchor of multiple programs. Sawyer worked for both CBS and ABC News during her career.
In 1974 she was the recipient of the Gold Medal of the International Radio and Television Society Award. She also received many Emmys as well. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981, the same year as Cronkite.
“Great questions make great reporting.” — News Anchor Diane Sawyer
Sawyer seems to state that journalists must consider what questions to ask in order to report the story in the most effective way possible. Sarah Soghomonian, the production manager/producer at PBS agrees with this statement.
“I agree, great questions do make great reporting,” Soghomonian said. “You have to know what to ask and when to ask it. It is important to make the person you are interviewing feel comfortable with you, that way they open up and are able to give you what you need to tell the story.”
In the following tweet, Sawyer highlights one of her current projects.
Always excited to share our #HiddenAmerica reporting with you and now it’s all in one place – our Hidden America playlist on YouTube.
Stories of struggle and hope that aren’t always in the headlines. Check it out!https://t.co/Cf0Qk4x6PP pic.twitter.com/L4mPJM96pP
— Diane Sawyer (@DianeSawyer) July 16, 2018
Tom Brokaw worked for NBC for a majority of his career. Besides being a television host he also released multiple books. Brokaw won 11 Emmys and two Peabody Awards over the course of his career and was added to the T.V.’s Academy Hall of Fame in 2006. He served NBC as the nightly news host, an anchor for multiple programs, and as a correspondent.
“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” — NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw
Brokaw seems to imply that the value of making a difference is more important that the amount of money you could make.
English teacher, Andrea Donaghe, agrees with this statement, as in the fact that making a difference is typically more difficult than making a quick buck.
“I think it is true, it is easy to make a dollar,” Donaghe says. “You can get a part-time job, you can hustle for something, but I think to make a difference, is something that can be challenging, because it depends on your audience and if they are interested in what you have to say, even how you have to say it.”
She believes that as teachers it is important to make a difference.
“As teachers, that is something that we strive to do, make a difference,” Donaghe continued. “But we have to make real connections to our students, and find things that are relevant to them.”
Barbara Walters name can be found on the infamous Hollywood Walk of Fame, with a star dedicated to her. Over the course of her career she worked mainly for NBC and ABC. She is the recipient of 12 Emmys, and two Lifetime Achievement Awards. In 1990 she was added to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. She also received the honor of interviewing every president and first lady starting with Richard Nixon and ending with the Obama’s.
“I can get a better grasp of what is going on in the world from one good Washington dinner party than from all the background information NBC piles on my desk.” — Barbara Walters
Walters explains that you can find important and credible information in many different situations. Today, while news anchors and reporters still seek information from informal or formal gatherings, most likely they will also have to use fact check websites like Politico Pro, FactCheck.org, PolitiFact.com to distinguish between fake and factual news. Another website to use might be Media Bias/Fact Check.
Soghomonian has a large amount of respect for Walters, specifically her interview style.
“Barbara Walters was one of the first women in the news to have great success,” Soghomonian said. “I’ve always been a fan of hers. When I interview someone important about their life, I always think of Barbara Walters and her interview style. When I make someone cry, I get excited because that’s something she was famous for, getting the people she was interviewing to cry.”
Many things can be learned from the influencers of the past, no matter how long ago. The spirit of journalism is not dead, and the job of telling stories must be fulfilled.
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