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TCU Magazine Feature


TCU Schieffer School of Journalism Dedication
March 8, 2005

By Nancy Bartosek

Bob Schieffer's boss, President of CBS News Andrew Hayward, put the March 8 festivities on campus in perspective when he told a packed Ed Landreth Auditorium about Schieffer's response when offered the anchor slot on "CBS Evening News."

"That would be dandy Andrew," Hayward recalled Schieffer saying. "I'd be glad to help you, but only if it's after March 8."

It was one of many times laughter rang out as TCU celebrated the naming of the Schieffer School of Journalism and hosted the inaugural State of American Journalism Symposium, headlined by five of the nation's best-known journalists.

By day's end, Schieffer's cheeks surely ached from the grin that seemed never to leave his face as he joked with old friends who came to celebrate -- Tom Brokaw, Jim and Kate Staples Lehrer '59, Bob Woodward and Tom Friedman -- and met new ones.

Schieffer said more than once that naming the journalism school after him is the greatest honor he's ever received. That day he explained why:

"My parents came of age during the Great Depression. My dad wanted to go to college but he couldn't because he had to go to work to save the family farm. My mother and her family lived on what her 13-year-old brother brought home from his job in a drugstore. When my parents later married, they were determined that their children would have what they never had -- a college education. It became the whole point of their lives. My dad didn't see it happen. He died when I was a student here. My mother was widowed when my brother was just 10, my sister 15. But her determination never wavered -- her children were going to get a college education. And we did. I cannot ever recall seeing her happier than the day I became the first person on either side of our family to receive a degree -- even though she really wanted me to be a doctor. No day passes that I do not think of her. And when I think of her today, and the honor you've given me, I remember that is my parents' name too that will be associated with this school. For me, it is named for them and their values, which shaped my life."

State of American Journalism Symposium Highlights

On Iraq

Tom Friedman, The New York Times: "What the election told us is what you've seen in Beirut and Martyr Square, that people really do want a change. They do want a different future in that part of the world."

Jim Lehrer, Lehrer NewsHour: "I think we did a pretty good job of laying out the pre-war. But when the thing went sour in Iraq, and it did very quickly, I had this sinking feeling. My God, our audience wasn't expecting this because we did not report that possibility."

Bob Woodward, Washington Post: "Bush has a policy of ending tyranny everywhere. But how many tyrannies are there in the world? You need a very specific policy for how you deal with Lebanon, Syria, North Korea, countries in Africa, Iran. And when you look at the Bush administration there is a mindset of one-size-fits-all. Well, it is not a one-size-fits-all world."

Tom Brokaw, ex-anchor NBC Nightly News: "We're up to 1,500 dead now. We'll go to 2,000 in the next year given the willingness of people to die on the insurgent side and the effectiveness of IEDs. Meanwhile, the Marines are for the first time having a hard time filling their quota. We've got a dilemma in this country."

On Politics

Friedman:"Watching George Bush's inauguration from Paris, I wrote at the time: ‘It's like watching the Red Sox win the World Series from a New York City sports bar.' You know that somebody around you must be happy, but it isn't immediately obvious to you."

Lehrer: "The money that makes politics work comes from people who feel strongly about one issue or are the people that are the real advocates. Moderates do not put money into moderate positions. They only put money in extreme positions."

Woodward: "The red state/blue state phenomenon is real. Even in foreign policy there is a perception of a red state foreign policy and a blue state foreign policy. The problem in journalism is that we can't get in the uniform. We can't have red state journalism and blue state journalism."

Brokaw: "The rise of 24-7 television and cable has a voracious appetite. An easy way to feed it is to keep conflict going constantly between the left and the right. Therefore, you have this polarization. We must be a pro-gun or anti-gun, pro-rights or anti-rights on abortion, and I think it's not good for the country."

On big stories to watch for

Friedman: "High schools in America are becoming obsolete. It's a quiet crisis that is a product of the fact that the greatest generation of American scientists is retiring. We never filled in with a new generation of scientists and engineers and mathematicians."

Lehrer: "There is a disconnect between what we're doing in Iraq and the great vision for democracy and protecting ourselves from terrorism. A very small group of Americans is really doing the work for the rest of us, and I think that we're going to be forced into a debate about national service, possibly a draft."

Woodward: "I think in 2005 we're going to return to the subject of terrorism. We have not fixed the intelligence problem, and the fact that there has not been another attack in the U.S. since 9-11 has made us numb and complacent. If you look at Al-Qaeda, they have been damaged and disrupted, but they still have the capability."

Brokaw: "Health care costs in America in five years will be 20 percent of our gross national product. It is a nightmare of rules and cost shifting. We have had the best science in the world, yet we have a disconnect between how people get sick, how they get treated and who ends up paying for it."

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