Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert Dead at 58

Tim Russert is dead at 58. Russert was the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," and collapsed while working on material for the show, and died at the hospital afterwards.

More important than being the host, he was the managing editor of the show, which meant that he was making decisions about what would be on it.

For anyone who has been a journalist, you appreciate seeing someone do it so well. Russert did it well. Very well.

He had a gift, and it is truly a gift, for interviewing people. It's a little appreciated skill these days. Current TV "journalists" would have us believe that interviewing is little more than trying to talk louder than the other person to get your viewpoint across.

A good interviewer listens. They listen hard. And they listen more. Then they wait. Then they listen some more. THEN they talk. It's a hard skill to develop. One of the greatest compliments anyone has given me in recent years was relayed by Mark when I sent the Greensburg story audio last year. He said one of his experienced colleagues remarked, "She's good... She can listen and wait... It's rare... She's good." 

Tim Russert was far more than good, he was extraordinary at interviewing. He brought a depth of knowledge to political discussions that's unmatched. That voice and that mind will be missed.

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