Comm 361’s new students: Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson

Dan Rather, a former CBS Evening news anchor and current host of Dan Rather Reports, was in a C-SPAN video conference with students from George Mason University, University of Denver, Purdue University and Georgetown University on February 24, 2011.

Dan Rather

Dan Rather

Rather commented on his 50-plus-years in journalism, a career that includes coverage on pivotal American news events such as the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, the Civil Rights Movement and September 11, 2001.

Tips to young journalists from Rather:

  • “Curiosity, relentless determination and the ability to write well and quickly [makes a good reporter].”
  • “Nothing matters at the moment but the story you’ll have time for your emotions later on.”
  • “American journalism needs, in many ways, a spine transplant. We’ve lost some of the grit in our gut, we’ve lost some of our courage.”
  • “[American Journalism should be] part of a system of checks and balances on power, not to be just a conduit for what power says is happening.”
  • Social media can be good and bad. It can help against dictatorships but it can also be used by those governments.
  • Keep facts and fiction separated, especially with the vast amount of information that comes out from social media.
  • There isn’t a business model for online journalism but the old model isn’t working.

Tucker Carlson, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, also joined the conference. “The best journalism is tough and it pays no regard to authority and it does not suck up to power,” Carlson said.

Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson

Carlson also pointed out something that all journalists should keep in mind.

“Journalism is not complicated,” said Carlson. “It’s a process of finding out what happened and repeating it to your viewers, listeners or readers. It’s a trait, not a profession.”


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