Schieffer, longtime newsman at CBS, is hosting his final Face the Nation broadcast this week, and so he’s reflecting on the changing nature of news.
“I suppose every generation thinks that the kids younger than them aren’t as good as they were and screwed it up in some way,” he said. “I try not to sound like an old goat, but the fact is there will always be a need for reporters, whether they are doing it on television or a website or for a newspaper that is not on paper anymore.”
Then there’s this part that proves that he is either an “old goat” or we’re doomed. I’m not sure which.
Recently, an aspiring reporter in Texas sent Schieffer a note seeking advice on a school project. Schieffer sent his phone number and the student replied that he’d rather talk via email. Schieffer Rule No. 1: pick up the phone or drop by.
“How do you ask a follow-up question?” he said. “How do you listen to a person and the tone of his voice to know whether he’s putting you on? The best way to interview someone is face-to-face and I think we ought to get to that whenever we can.”
I had a similar experience recently when an area university student asked to interview me as part of his final class project. Keeping in mind that I insist on face-to-face interviews precisely for the reason Schieffer gave, and I often spend several hours with a student, I gave him several options for times and dates.
“Those won’t work for me,” he said. And that was that.
Schieffer’s rule on picking up a ringing phone is born of experience. After President Kennedy was assassinated, the phone rang in his Dallas newsroom. He answered it with annoyance.
“I picked up the phone and a woman said, ‘Is there anybody there who can give me a ride to Dallas?’ and I almost hung up the phone,” Schieffer recalled on the 50th anniversary of the assassination. “And I said, ‘Lady, you know, we’re not running a taxi service here. And besides, the president’s been shot.’ And she says, ‘Yes, I heard it on the radio. I think my son is the one they’ve arrested.'”
Andrew Henderson and a local police department are at it again.
Henderson, who was acquitted by a Ramsey County jury last year for refusing to stop taping police and an ambulance crew in Little Canada, was detained by St. Paul police this month for taping cops to see if they wore seat belts at the same time they were enforcing seat belt use.
A police spokesman tells the Pioneer Press that officers wear their seat belts “99.9 percent of the time.”
The St. Paul city attorney tells the newspaper that his office will work with the police department “to clarify the rights of way applicable to the sidewalks around the public-safety buildings in the area.”
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The law is having a hard time keeping up with technology-fueled entrepreneurs, but Duluth is giving it a go with a potential crackdown on homeowners who rent out their property to tourists via sites such as VRBO and AirBnB. Read more →
Ventura, who became a legitimate contender the night he was allowed to debate on the same stage as Republican gubernatorial candidate Norm Coleman and DFL gubernatorial candidate Skip Humphrey. They spoke politician and Ventura decidedly did not. Read more →
The Associated Press stylebook, the bible of newswriting, is announcing several changes and additions this week at a convention of copy editors. Most of them are of little consequence; you can now write BLT on first reference in a news story, for example. But the AP’s directive on suicide is another matter altogether. In its Read more →
When the Red River was flooding in 2009 (and again in 2011), you didn’t hear a lot of complaining about plans to divert the river around the cities on the glacial lake bed — not when every volunteer in the state was racing to Fargo-Moorhead to help sandbag.
Now, it’s getting harder to find someone who likes the idea.