Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Conversation with Tim Russert

Because Russert got a degree from John Carroll, which is a Jesuit school -- and certainly for many other reasons -- USF gave him an honorary degree back in 2001. As USF's resident journalist professor -- at the time the one and only -- I was asked to read the official proclamation.

I didn't write it. I was still nursing a grudge from some of Russert's commentary during the Clinton impeachment, but I was certainly not going to step away from the spotlight.

After I read the proclamation (the instructions said), I was supposed to approach Russert (who at this point in the ceremonies was standing center stage listening), shake his hand and return to my seat (the instructions said).

So: I read the proclamation walked over to Russert and said:

"I shake your hand, and I return to my seat."

As the instructions said.

I guess I thought I was being funny. Russert did not seem amused.


Anonymous said...

But didn't the weekend yield mad props for Jesuit education! Usually linked something like "his Jesuit training and education in law led him to..."
The most impressive memorial that I saw was the full page ad in the New York Times. Why? Because, while Russert had died on Friday afternoon, NBC had managed to:
- get the graphics designed for the ad (the same graphics were used on Sunday morning's Brokaw-anchored MTP) and
- since the Sunday ad insertion deadline probably closed on Wednesday, somebody big at NBC had to call somebody big at NYT in order to book the space (I suspect they bumped a house ad).
Impressive! And an example of how flexible a newspaper can be, but usually doesn't want to.
Greg Pabst

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Boy Pabst understands process. Understanding process is the beginning of wisdom.

the cancer blogs said...

That was my graduation he spoke at.
I remember him mentioning how he interviewed the pope.
we had started drinking earlier down in gill theatre.

....J.Michael Robertson said...

And those remarks turned you around, but it was 360 degrees, so you had another drink.

I was young once.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Russert should have fallen down laughing at your wit. BTW when an actual network anchor dies, do you think programming should be cancelled in favor of somber music?

B. Lundigan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
....J.Michael Robertson said...

I was being cheeky, but a rich man deserves cheek. A writer at Slate -- name already forgotten -- did a contrarian column on the mad excess of the response to Russert. It's all self love on the part of journalists. All that said, one of the things I regret about the fall fo the newspaper and the exodus of those I knew and loved at the Chroncle is that I *will not get a handsome obit* in the Chron when I pass. I rather counted on it.