Distinguished television news anchor Tom Brokaw’s advice to those seeking a clear understanding of current events might be a bit surprising.
“You can no longer just be a couch potato,” Brokaw said in a recent interview with the University of Illinois-Chicago’s student newspaper. “When I was little, you could just tune in to Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley. … As a news consumer, you have to work harder about what’s reliable, what’s credible, and what holds up over time. And if you’re proactive, you can be the best-informed citizen in the history of mankind.”
The 72-year-old Brokaw, who has covered nine presidents and won every major award in his craft, continues to enlighten those news consumers as a special correspondent for NBC, where he was the face of the “NBC Nightly News” for 22 years before stepping down in 2004.
He will address Monday afternoon’s General Session.
Brokaw’s career at NBC includes an impressive list of firsts, including the first interview with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the first network report on human rights abuses in Tibet, accompanied by an exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama. And he was the only American network anchor to report from Berlin the night that the Berlin Wall fell.
The 1998 release of his first book—“The Greatest Generation”—further enhanced his legacy. The book honors those who endured the Great Depression, won World War II, and then humbly returned to their daily existence and built modern America.
He has written five other books—most recently, “The Time of Our Lives,” in which he offers reflections on how to restore America’s greatness—and is a popular essayist for publications such as The New York Times and Rolling Stone.