Noting excellent journalism

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 3, 2004

We are now a few days removed from Tom Brokaw's retirement from the NBC Nightly News. Yes, I'm a Brokaw fan. I've always been a Brokaw fan.

You might say he inspired me to become a journalist.

Wednesday night ranked among the highest rated editions of &uot;NBC Nightly News" in the newscast's history.

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Brokaw ended a 21-year run at NBC's anchor desk and it is hard to believe that I have been getting my news from him since I was 13-years-old.

Personally, I thought he said goodbye with a friendly dignity that has served millions of other viewers and myself well for the last 21 years.

Quite often, I refer to him as the most trusted man in America.

Before Brokaw, there was Cronkite, who was renowned for delivering the news with a kind of assurance.

It is important to have that type of credibility when you are in the news business. Trust. Something for which many strive, but few achieve.

I do not believe I have ever witnessed a newscast where Brokaw let his emotions get the best of him. I do recall when the Challenger exploded, his eyes were a bit wet around the edges, but who didn't cry that day?


I believe that Brokaw is one of the best. He has been more than a reader of the news because, while he was the most conspicuous member of the NBC team, he also was not afraid to a story himself. That is one thing I've always told reporters here and at other newspapers. They will never hear me ask them to do a story that I'm not willing to do myself.

Because of that Brokaw, taught me that you should be able to have a conversation with a any resident of Alabama with the same ease you'd interview the governor or president.

I guess the best way to put it is that we all put on our shoes one foot at a time.

I'm sure Brokaw has his critics. Slanted writing and editing as well, poorly serve news viewers and newspaper readers.

I have learned, like I'm sure Brokaw learned, is that those with extreme views do not hear, they are critical of the messengers, no matter how fair and accurate they might be.

It is important for each historical event in this world, that good journalists guide us along the way. I feel like as the editor of this newspaper, it is my duty to record what is historical and significant about our time and to help guide our readers.

Good reporters and editors are often judged by how they compare or contrast with their peers and forefathers.

I can't say that it is a standard that should always apply.

I'll say this about reporting the news:

It is important to have good news quality, but when it comes to get the answers and the facts correct, there is no other rating that excellent.

That is what you should expect from us as we expect it from others.

I believe that Brokaw's career stands as simply excellent.




On a personal note, I have to say that I truly enjoyed Thursday's Christmas parade.

I had the opportunity to ride in the parade with the Sheriff's Auxiliary and really enjoyed seeing all the smiling faces along the route.

Good job to Carol Lee and everyone involved in this year's parade.

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 136 or via email at