Few South Dakotans in recent years have had their fingers on the pulse of what's happening in the world quite like Tom Brokaw and Tom Daschle have. Thursday, on the campus of South Dakota State University in Brookings, they took questions from students and shared lessons about what they've experienced.
From the lighthearted...
"I'm a broadcast journalism major here at SDSU," a student said.
"Have you thought about medicine?" Brokaw said in reply.
...to the serious, Brokaw and Daschle offer inside looks at how they've seen the world. One question was, "What's the hardest part of journalism?"
"Well, the hardest part is getting it right," Brokaw said.
He also gives insight to what was going through his head when he covered the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"And intuitively I looked into the camera and said, 'This will change us. We're at war. And from this moment on, we have to be on a war footing. And it's going to change how we think about our country and security in this country,'" Brokaw said.
The answer, he explains, came from Brokaw the person, not just Brokaw the journalist.
"And I did it just instinctively," Brokaw said. "And I later said that it took everything I knew, not just as a journalist, but as a citizen, as a father, as a husband, as a grandfather, at that point."
The two are on campus for the Daschle Dialogues.
"I think, especially now, with the news media being so much a central part of the debate and the environment in Washington, who better to give a perspective about the circumstances we're facing than Tom Brokaw," Daschle said.
"I feel almost a calling these days to go around the country and talk about journalism and the place of it in our society. And especially in this political climate," Brokaw said. "What I remind audiences is, they can't be idle bystanders."
Daschle hopes attendees leave campus with a smile.
"My hope is that they leave a little more optimistic than when they came. A little more confident that the challenges we face are ones we can overcome," Daschle said.
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