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Award-winning newscaster Bob Schieffer discussed the dangers and hope of digital journalism as he accepted the 2013 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism Tuesday from Arizona State University.
“Social media is fine. Tweets and such are nice,” Schieffer said. “But journalism is not about scratching the surface. It is about going beneath the surface and finding the truth.”
ASU Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth D. Phillips presented Schieffer with the 30th annual award, given by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to recognize a distinguished journalist who embodies the values of the school’s namesake.
Schieffer accepted the award at a luncheon attended by more than 1,100 students, journalists, business executives, civic leaders and Cronkite School supporters at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. He expressed optimism in the future of journalism because of institutions, such as the Cronkite School and the Schieffer School of Journalism at his alma mater, Texas Christian University, that have created a new teaching model for training journalists.
“Arizona State recognized early on that journalism is changing, and that meant they could not train their students and prepare them for the world of yesterday’s journalism,” Schieffer said. “They have overhauled everything, and (the Cronkite School building) is such a wonderful example of what they have done.”
During his two-day visit, Schieffer toured the Cronkite building, participated in a faculty roundtable discussion, met with local media and watched a broadcast of Cronkite NewsWatch, the school’s award-winning, student-produced newscast.
A day before the luncheon, he spoke to more than 200 students during an hour-long discussion with Assistant Dean Mark Lodato as part of the Cronkite School’s weekly “Must See Mondays” speaker series. Schieffer discussed the political gridlock in Washington, the upcoming 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination and his memories of working with Walter Cronkite at CBS News.
“Walter Cronkite on television was exactly the same as he was in person,” Schieffer said. “He was exactly the same. He talked exactly the same way. He had this insatiable curiosity. He loved the news.”
Schieffer, a seven-time Emmy Award winner, is CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent and longtime anchor and moderator of “Face the Nation,” the network’s Sunday public affairs broadcast. Schieffer has more than 50 years of reporting experience, having covered every presidential campaign since 1972. He also has moderated three presidential debates and is a member of the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
“In many ways, Bob Schieffer receiving this year’s Cronkite Award brings us back to our beginning,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan just before the award was given. “Bob, of course, was a longtime CBS News colleague and great friend to Walter Cronkite, our namesake who remains the school’s guiding light.”
Previous Cronkite Award recipients include television journalists Tom Brokaw, Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams; newspaper journalists Ben Bradlee and Bob Woodward; television executives Frank Stanton and Ted Turner; and newspaper publishers Katharine Graham and Otis Chandler. Last year’s winner was sportscaster Bob Costas.