Walter Cronkite (1916–2009)

July 18th, 2009

In the fall if 1989, I sat deep within the blue light of Conestoga High School's dusty, off-white library single-finger typing my Northwestern University application into one of the school's ten, well-worn IBM PCs.

I don't remember much about the assignment, or my thesis, or even what made me think I should be a journalism student there to begin with (neither a) "I like to write" b) "I like Chicago" nor c) "My brother wanted to go there but didn't get in" seemed like reasonable responses), I only remember one thing: Twenty years later, I ...

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Breaking The News: Michael Jackson

June 28th, 2009

Sadly, breaking news doesn't surprises me much anymore. It is immediately what it is.

I was in a seventeenth floor corner office overlooking Times Square on a conference call with a blogger from VH1's Best Week Ever (of all media entities) when I heard the news.

"Michael Jackson had a heart attack."

Now, I was never a huge fan, but I remember the first time I heard "Thriller." I was sitting on my cousin Jimmy's bed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, wearing big, puffy headphones when I first heard Vincent Price's sinister cackle. A few months ...

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Tim Russert (1950-2008)

June 13th, 2008

The New York Times just confirmed some sad news: Tim Russert has died of a heart attack.

You'll recall that Chris and I visited Tim in his NBC offices in November, 2006 to interview him for our documentary, "Mister Rogers & Me."

We scored the interview courtesy of my uncle, with whom Tim had worked for years, after I read Tim's wife, Maureen Orth, remembrance of Mister Rogers in The Nantucket Inquirer-Mirror some months earlier.

It was a cold, drizzly Monday morning as we pulled into NBC's Washington, DC, bureau. Despite a fair dose ...

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Mister Rogers & Me

February 27th, 2003

It was the weekend of my 30th birthday, and just a few hours after disembarking the Hyannis Ferry. My cell phone was still chattering with MTV business as I stood on the back porch. The last rays of light were spilling over the horizon. New York City was slipping away from me as I settled into the quiet island night.

Suddenly a familiar voice from the edge of the dune asked, "Is the birthday boy here?" I turned to see Mister Rogers -- more slight, perhaps, than I remembered from television, but smiling more broadly than ever -- reaching ...

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