Sunday, July 26, 2009

Walter Cronkite’s Advice When You Think You’ve Done a Brilliant Job

Tom Brokaw offers this reflection on Walter Cronkite, ‘the most famous journalist of his time’:

When I was taking over Nightly News, some mutual friends had a small dinner, and Cronkite rose to offer some advice. "There will be nights," he said, "when you think you've done a brilliant job on a big story. You'll leave the studio with the echoes of praise from your colleagues ringing in your ears. And once outside in New York, you'll realize there are millions of people in this city alone who didn't watch and who don't give a damn what you just did."

That was a line I remembered at the end of many days. To those of us of a younger generation, Cronkite was never paternalistic. He didn't like many of the changes in network news, but he was always generous. In the end, what endeared him to so many was that he always seemed like a man you were as likely to find walking down Main Street as knocking back drinks at Toots Shor's or manning his yacht, asking all around him, "What's the latest news?"

If I told him this week, "Walter Cronkite died," he'd laugh and say, "Walter who? Never heard of him."

Read the entire article:
Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, a No-Nonsense Newshound, Time, 23 July 2009.

The Modesty of Walter Cronkite—‘Just a Reporter’, SFE.
Walter Cronkite on Being Clear About Your Role, SFS.
Walter Cronkite and the Difference One Person can Make, SFS.
Authentic Transparency is Walter Cronkite’s Greatest Lesson Says Seth Godin, SFS.
Walter Cronkite—‘Relentlessly Inquisitive’, SFS.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Walter Cronkite on the cover of TIME.