The New York Times reporter Adam Clymer recounted his experiences meeting and getting to know famous political figures to the TCU community Monday night.Clymer began by reading the lyrics of an out-of-print song that describes the different kinds of personalities people in the journalism business can meet.
“A newspaperman meets such interesting people,” he read.
At only 26 years, Clymer said he spoke to Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the former Soviet Union.
He recounted interviews with former Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Carter, as well as one flight he took over Oklahoma and Texas with former President Bush.
He said he learned about being “born again” in a religious conversation with former President Carter and how “beach volleyball is a central proof of the success of the American system” from Newt Gingrich.
“Journalism is not a field you enter to get rich,” Clymer said.
He described how being a reporter is rewarding in other ways, such as being able to penetrate institutions that aren’t accessible to other citizens.
“In this field,” he said, “you get to meet interesting, honorable and funny people.”
Clymer commented on the famous incident when President Bush made a profane remark about him in front of microphones the president did not know were on.
“Politicians get mad at reporters,” he explained. “We often get back what we deal out.”
He said it was an annoyance that the incident became a story and only did one interview for CNN regarding what happened, turning down an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.
Kidron Vestal, a sophomore advertising and public relations major, said she enjoyed hearing Clymer’s personal account.
“He humanized many historical events of our country,” she said.
Although Emily Housley, a graduate student in journalism, said she did not plan to become a reporter, she said Clymer made it seem like an exciting field.
Tommy Thomason, director of the Schieffer School of Journalism, said he could not think of someone more worthy to share his or her life as a reporter to the TCU students and community.
“Clymer is one of the few people who can truly say they’ve been there, done that,” Thomason said.