American TV Journalist Tom Brokaw speaks at Bryan Series

Many students in college  may remember a distinct, deep memorable voice announcing the news during their childhood year. That voice was television journalist Tom Brokaw.

On Nov. 29, Brokaw visited Guilford College and spoke at the Greensboro War Memorial Auditorium as part of the Bryan Series.

Brokaw covered many historical moments throughout his lengthy career.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1991, Brokaw was the only American television journalist to cover it. He was also a huge figure in covering the 2000 presidential election along with fellow journalist Tim Russert.

On Sept. 11, 2001 Brokaw uttered the famous words, “This is war. This is a declaration and execution of an attack on the United States.”

Brokaw anchored the Nightly News from 1982 until 2004 before handing it off to current anchor Brian Williams. He also hosted Meet The Press and the Today Show, becoming the first person to host all three network news shows on NBC.

He wrote bestselling books such as The Greatest Generation along with his newest book The Time of Our Lives.

Before the official lecture, Brokaw held an informal session with students and answered some of their questions.

“I was excited by the chance to meet Tom Brokaw one-on-one and thought his question-and-answer session was a great way for students to meet him, and get to air their concerns about society and hear back from a celebrity and expert on social problems,” said senior Tim Leisman.

Sophomore Ben Strozier was also excited by the opportunity to meet the news icon face-to-face.

“It was very personable and informative,” said Strozier. “He is genuine and kind. What I really enjoyed was his ability to approach every question seeking answers. It was clear he was a reporter. He looked at it from all points of view simply trying to find what happening. Mr. Brokaw used history continuously and that was a great reminder, that in order to look to what might happen you must look to the past for clues.”

In his speech, Brokaw explained his views about how American journalism is changing and gave advice about how to make our society better, specifically through showing appreciation for our armed forces.

“We need to tell them that,” said Brokaw. “We are here. We want to help you. We understand what you’re going through.

Leisman shared his thoughts on Brokaw’s lecture.

“Mr. Brokaw’s lecture at the Bryan Series was great in terms of giving his perspective of American culture and journalism as well as his idea of changing the way we view public service and the importance of coming together as a culture to make our society better and support people who sacrifice so much for the greater good. I wish he had focused a bit more on how he got to where he is, and talked about white privilege in his life, as well as the corporate control of the media today. But he only had a certain amount of time so it’s understandable.”

Senior Tali Raphael also had mixed feelings about the lecture.

“In essence, his main points about supporting veterans (and) the need for big ideas to reinvigorate American society were very much agreeable. However, some of his assertions, specifically about American exceptionalism, jihad, and the role of Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev during the Cold War, did not strike a good tone with me.”

While Brokaw’s lecture elicited mixed reactions from attendees, there is no doubt that he stimulated conversation and interest from the people who piled into the auditorium to hear the journalism icon speak.

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