Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

February 22, 2014

Losing a journalism icon

-- — One by one, we’re losing them. As the years progress, death inevitably claims the lives of the pioneers, the greatest generation, the innovators; the ones who paved the way for others to follow.

As time progresses, the fear is that future generations will not have the moral, social and intellectual icons to emulate that those born in the decades before the 1980s remember so well. Icons whose talents extended far beyond the physical and material; whose richness stemmed from experiences and whose beauty shone from within.

For those in the news business of a certain age, they were weaned on the network nightly news, gripping images broadcast from the first war ever covered live, hard-hitting questions posed of political candidates, dogged reporters and photojournalists who risked their lives to ensure that Americans were kept informed. Giants of intellectual banter, who truly understood the issues they were covering.

Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Mike Wallace, Tim Russert, David Brinkley, Helen Thomas, Horst Fass, Ed Bradley, John Chancellor, and now, Garrick Utley.

Utley died last week, leaving us once again to mourn the passing of a true newsman. He reflected often on the glory days of news, when the American public and networks valued news coverage, valued substance, and valued intelligence.

Utley spent much of his career as a foreign correspondent. To do so, he became fluent in Russian, German and French. He was the first to establish a news bureau in Vietnam. He covered the Cold War from Berlin and Moscow, the Warsaw Pact, the invasion of Czechoslovakia. He interviewed Bush and Gorbachev, covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of the Persian Gulf war.

Utley lamented in recent years that journalists had become news narrators and color commentators with little understanding of the events they were covering.

He lamented the loss of support for news as a higher calling, not a business.

Like those who came before him, Utley is one of the last newsmen who was also a true journalist, whose quiet wit and intelligence was valued more than his appearance, and who had the ability to cover news of importance without regard to ratings.

One by one, we’re losing them. Let’s hope that we don’t also forget them.

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What We Think
  • Thumbs up

    THUMBS UP: To Carol Mikkelsen. Valdosta State University Opera’s “Dido and Aeneas” marks the last production before Mikkelsen’s retirement
    after 44 years with Valdosta State and the creation of the opera program. She plans to continue
    working with VSU part-time, but this weekend’s performance marks her last full-time participation with the opera productions. Ovations all around for her work.

    April 18, 2014

  • Feed the hungry, adopt a duck

    If you haven’t already adopted a duck, you have a little more than a week to do so.

    April 17, 2014

  • If I were mayor

    Each year, the City of Valdosta holds an essay contest, “If I Were Mayor,” with students in the area writing their ideas about what they would do as the head of the city.

    April 16, 2014

  • The real lessons of a mock drill

    Valdosta High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions held a powerful mock demonstration Monday morning on the school’s campus.

    April 14, 2014

  • Kudos to VPD

    Followed by a stellar report on Sunday about the drop in the crime rate in the City of Valdosta, city police officers prove their worth once again by arresting a dangerous fugitive in our community.

    April 13, 2014

  • It just plain stinks

    After every rain event, the pungent smell of sewage can be detected around the rivers and streams of south Georgia, and Florida residents brace for more to float their way.

    April 13, 2014

  • Pennsylvania school stabbings: Why?

    The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, April 10:

    April 11, 2014

  • European bans on emails unlikely in America

    Several European countries are banning work emails to employees before and after normal working hours, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., in an effort to curb the perceived abuse of employees by corporations.

    April 11, 2014

  • Strength of character

    It was an unusual friendship — a tiny 8-year old girl with long blonde hair and the 6’10” Michigan State basketball player.

    April 10, 2014

  • Daly’s return a boost for Valdosta

    Flashy, colorful and always a hit with the fans for his long drives and humble demeanor, John Daly’s return to Kinderlou Forest and the South Georgia Classic is a boon for Valdosta.

    April 9, 2014

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