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FCW Insider: Remembering Tim Russert

FCW Insider: Remembering Tim Russert

Yes, this is unrelated to government and government IT, but... Journalism has lost such a superstar today with the death of Tim Russert, NBC News' Washington Bureau Chief and the host of Meet the Press. It is a very sad day for journalism, for NBC News, and for Meet the Press. And, a personal note, one of my best friends is a producer for Meet the Press.Russert has been a mentor and father figure to her and she has spoken about his with such honor and respect. He was such a class act and a remarkable journalist.

It it interesting because journalism is going through difficult times these days. Increasingly, news has become a commodity. But the Sunday talk shows are a wonderful haven from the yelling of cable news. They are a place where people can talk policies -- and in depth. And nobody does it better then Meet the Press. MTP is a wonderful place to relish wonks.

MTP has a pivotal role in journalism. It is the longest running show on television. Not the longest running news show -- it is the longest running show. MTP actually pre-dates television. It started as a radio show and evolved into a wonderful place where people could talk policies.

Russert was also a tenacious interviewer. Of course, he was famous for putting ones own words up on the screen then then asking the person to justify it. The research that went into an interview was remarkable. Several years ago, we got to visit the broadcast. The guest was Treasury Secretary John Snow and he just withered under Russert's questioning. I remember my step-mother, who doesn't follow the ins and outs of politics, leaned over to me and said, "He's not doing very well, is he?" referring to Snow. It was an understatement.

For me, the great thing about Russert, and something I have tried to emulate, is that he always kept it real. He was true to himself. He loved his family. He loved his home town. He loved his family. He loved his Dad. And he loved his kid. And he loved politics. He asked hard questions... but he did it politely and with respect.

So every Friday, Russert appeared on DC all-news station WTOP to talk about the week... and what was coming up on Sunday's show. It was must listening in our house in the morning. And this morning was no exception. WTOP has pulled those interviews together. It is almost eerie to hear him this morning talking about Father's Day.

D.C. media blog Fishbowl DC does a wonderful round-up of Russert items.

For the 60th anniversary of MTP, they pulled together some remarkable stats. For example:

U.S. Presidents appearing on “Meet the Press:”
Every U.S. President since John F. Kennedy has appeared on “Meet the Press” during his career.

Number of World Leaders on “Meet the Press:”
There have been over 60 Prime Ministers, Presidents, Premiers, Kings or Chancellors representing 32 countries.

Most Frequent Guests on “Meet the Press:”
Bob Dole/63 appearances
John McCain/50 appearances
Joseph Biden/41 appearances
Richard Gephardt/41 appearances
Richard Lugar/36 appearances

Most frequent journalist appearances on “Meet the Press:”
David Broder of the Washington Post/396 times
Robert Novak of the Chicago Sun Times/247 times

Longest time span between first and most recent appearance:
Sen. Ted Kennedy
First appearance: March 11, 1962
Most recent appearance: January 21, 2007
Time span of: almost 45 years

My thoughts and prayers are with Russert's family, the NBC News team and my dear friend Michelle.

Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Jun 13, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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