Friday, June 13, 2008

Saying Goodbye to a Journalistic Role Model

I can't think of another journalist I have admired and respected as much as Tim Russert. His death is an unimaginable loss and I feel it personally. As a former print journalist, I was indoctrinated with an arrogance and annoyance at broadcasters. We viewed the broadcast industry as journalism-lite and scoffed at the dumbed-down TV version of news. So, in order for a talking head to break into the status of "real" journalist, they had to have something more than a pretty face. Russert was the consummate news man, a tough interviewer and seemingly beautiful person--if maybe not a pretty face.

Political journalism will not be the same, especially this close to a historical presidential election. His skill in the television political interview is unparallelled. He could ask the direct and pertinent questions without being confrontational or disrespectful. Who can ever forget his famous whiteboard during the 2000 election fiasco. It's so iconic of his down-to-earth ability to relate to everyman (and woman).

Very few broadcast journalists can so much as capture my attention, let alone my respect, but Russert did and I'm sad to lose him as a journalistic role model.

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