David Muir Q&A

David Muir encourages prospective journalists to pursue the truth and connect with their audience during Q&A event

Friday, Feb. 16, 2024


David Muir reflected on his career journey, his hope for future journalists and how they can navigate polarizing times during a Q&A session with students at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Muir, the award-winning anchor and managing editor of “ABC World News Tonight with David Muir,” visited the Cronkite School to accept the 40th Walter Cronkite Award of Excellence in Journalism. 

Cronkite students Lauren Sanders and Sammy Miller served as moderators for the event. The students in attendance asked a variety of questions about Muir’s career trajectory and for advice on how to be effective journalists.

“A lot of reporting is just listening,” Muir said. “People have very common fears and concerns, whether they have a family, taxes, education, crime, safety at the borders. We have Israel and Hamas. It’s an overwhelming time. But no matter what the story is, I think one of the most important attributes of a reporter who is going to connect with the audience, is someone who truly listens.” 

Muir started his career at WTVH as an intern in his hometown of Syracuse, New York. Muir recalled a story when he wasn’t having any luck connecting with people over the phone, and a reporter told him to leave the studio in order to get the story. 

“This veteran reporter sitting in front of me … turned around and just said, ‘you know, in order to get the story, you just have to go out there. Just go get it.’ I thought that was one of the most valuable pieces of advice I ever received as a journalist,” Muir said.

Muir also provided insight into how he maintains his on-air composure when delivering devastating and catastrophic events. 

“I dive into that outline and scripts during the day, usually right before we go on the air, and so I know it’s coming, and it still sometimes hits me as I’m watching it on the air,” he said. 

Some students asked about the type of legacy he wants to leave and how it feels to accept this award. Muir credited his colleagues at ABC News and described how Walter Cronkite influenced their approach to reporting the news and remaining objective. 

“I do hope that people think not only of me, but of the team on this newscast every night,” he said. “We try to be balanced, objective, straightforward, present the facts, all the attributes that Walter Cronkite had all those years ago. He spoke often about being objective about letting the facts speak for themselves. He said, ‘I’m a journalist not an analyst.’”

Muir left the students with words of encouragement to find their passion because that would ensure their success within the industry.

“Find what part of this discipline, this part of the industry that sort of lights a fire for you and just follow it, because that will ensure that you are the most successful that you can be,” Muir said. “When I mentioned earlier that I like doing all these little things … all the different facets of what we do, find the one or two things that you really, really love the most and then chase it.” 

By Lauren Boykins