Sunday, October 24, 2004


What I want to be when I grow up

I am 52 years old, and it has suddenly dawned on me what I want to be when I grow up! I want to be Daniel Shorr! Listening to his analysis on NPR this morning again reminded me of what a remarkable man he is. He has been one of the most recognizable figures in journalism for nearly 60 years. He is 88 years old, still plays tennis weekly (he is a member of the same club as Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsberg). His commentaries are heard almost daily on NPR news programs, and he still finds time and energy to be active on the lecture circuit.

For those who may be too young remember, Daniel Shorr was one of the most recognizable faces in televison journalism for forty years. After serving in army intellegence during WWII, he began a 20 year stint as a foreign correspondent, writing first for the Christian Science Moniter, then the New York Times. Edward R. Murrow hired him in 1953 to join the famed CBS news division as Chief Diplomatic Correspondent.

His career accomplishments are simply amazing. Opened the first western new bureau (CBS") in Moscow. Covered the Berlin Airlift, Khrushchev's U.S. tour, interviewed Castro, covered the Cuban missle crisis. In 1966 he became CBS Washington correspondent, covering the civil rights movement and environmental issues. His dogged coverage of the Watergate scandal earned him a prominent place on Nixon's enemies list. He stared down Congress over a threatened Contempt of Congress charge for refusing to reveal the source of damning documents he published during his coverage of the CIA scandle.

In 1979, he was hired by Ted Turner to help create CNN. Virtually everbody in the televison industry laughed at the idea of a 24 hour news nework until Shorr's hiring. Daniel Shorr gave CNN instant credablity.

Shorr left CNN in 1985 after a dispute with Turner over editorial control. He became Senior News Analyst for NPR, and for the last 20 years has produced almost daily commentaries for the network's news programs. He has also been a prominent figure in the coverage of Washington scandals from Bush to Clinton to Bush. Remarkably, he shows no sign of aging or slowing down!

So I want to be the next Daniel Shorr! No big hurry though. I have at least the next 36 years to do it in!

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