Against a purple backdrop bearing his name, CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer told journalism staff and students that journalists have more fun.Schieffer came Monday afternoon for his first visit since the Schieffer School of Journalism was named after him in March 2005.
“The number one reason to be a reporter is because it’s just so much fun,” he said.
In his purple shirt and purple-striped tie, Schieffer shared stories to encourage students in the field.
On New Years Eve of 1977, he and Barbara Walters danced over to former President Carter at a party to ask him about a rumored visit to Egypt to visit President Anwar Sadat. The president gave them information his closest men didn’t even know, sending both journalists scrambling for the phones to relay the message to their respective news stations.
“I hate telling people we danced our way to that story, but that is what happened,” he joked.
Schieffer has watched a fellow journalist speak with a commander in chief, even against the wishes of officials of the White House. When former President Ford was running for his second term, Schieffer explained how he, Walter Cronkite and a three-man camera crew entered the president’s office and managed to ask one quick question for the forbidden interview.
Schieffer also interviewed the mother of Lee Harvey Oswald after former President Kennedy’s assassination as he drove her from Fort Worth to Dallas to see her son. Dressed as a detective, he said he made it as far as the holding room where Oswald was kept before he was discovered.
“Now tell me,” Schieffer asked, “where else can you have that kind of adventure?”
After being asked about what he plans to do with his school, Schieffer said: “One journalism school has to be the best in the country. Why shouldn’t it be this one?”
He said he hopes to help equip students by having more top professionals visit the school and holding more events such as the symposium with famous journalists last spring semester.
Schieffer said students need to take on responsibility and work hard.
He told them not to get discouraged if they get turned down for job positions at first.
“I tried for five years to get a job at CBS,” Schieffer said. “I couldn’t even get an appointment.”
Tyler Harris, a senior advertising/public relations student, said he was encouraged by Schieffer’s advice not to give up right away.
He said he is proud to be in the journalism school and that Schieffer’s name has added prestige.
On his first night at CBS after replacing Dan Rather, Schieffer wore a purple tie on the air.
“It was neat for him to pay attention to that kind of detail,” said John Tisdale, assistant professor of journalism.
At the conclusion of the speech, Tisdale presented Schieffer with a purple tie.
“We wanted to start a tradition that every year we could give him a new purple tie,” Tisdale said.
He also said it would be a good way to market TCU.
Schieffer said he would wear the new tie on the air sometime this week.