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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.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Journalism has many different roles and jobs, including those shared by ABC30’s Assistant News Director Jim Jakobs, left, during a Feather lab visit, Feb. 19.

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

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.

He was the recipient of many awards including multiple Emmys and Peabody Awards. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 and was inducted to the Television Hall of Fame in 1985.

“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.

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

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.

Tom Brokaw

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.”

In the following podcast,  Donaghe further discusses her opinion of Brokaw with Toryn Triplitt.

Barbara Walters

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,, to distinguish between fake and factual news. Another website to use might be Media Bias/Fact Check.

Greg Stobbe | The Feather Online

Sophomore Addison Schultz interviewed three local news leaders during Fresno City College’s Journalism Day, Feb. 22. She spoke with the Executive Editor of the Fresno Bee, Joseph Kieta, left (center to right), Chad McCollum, News Director for Channels 24 & 47, and Blake Taylor, Program Director for NewsTalk at KMJ Radio.

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.

For more articles read, Campus events, athletics shape FC community and National Scholastic Journalism Week: Saving Democracy

This author can be reached via twitter @toryntriplitt and via email: Toryn Triplitt.

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