Friday, June 20, 2008

Among giants

It finally hit me today, as I was walking out of class, that I am here.

So this is what it feels like to go to the finest school in the world for my field. It's a good feeling, knowing that I'm receiving one of the best educations that is available (if not THE best). It's thrilling to know that I'm coming into contact with people who have been, are and will be some of the most influential contributors in our field.

It's exciting to say the least, because except in a couple of instances, I've had little contact with journalistic giants. One of the few fortunate, brief opportunities I did have was with the late Tim Russert.

I confess, I am terribly late to be writing about Tim Russert's death, but I read a column by William Kristol on Monday that really conveyed a warm memorial of Russert's journalistic career and serious personality.

I didn't closely follow Russert's career or approach to journalism while he was alive, but from hearing and reading about him in the recent news, I've been struck by how large of a role he played in Washington and the impact he had there.

Earlier this year, I wrote about how I was fortunate enough to run into him coming out of a rally for Barack Obama during the Iowa caucuses in January. He agreed to take a picture with me (something I almost never do). He told me, "Good luck" with journalism, and we parted ways.

Suddenly, with his death, the picture we snapped takes on greater significance. I can't wait to read Big Russ and Me, and find out more about one of the legendary journalists of our time.

1 comment:

John said...

As I recall, the words Mr. Russert said to you were, "Go get 'em, Pal." As I listened to the Today Show the day after Tim's death, Matt Lauer said, "I will end my remarks, with the phrase that Tim Russert always used at the end of our conversations about future opportunities: "Go get 'em, Pal." It hit me as soon as he said it that those were the exact words he used to you in Iowa on that fateful day. Last Sunday, Meet the Press concluded their program with some clips from Russert's memorial. It was further interesting that his son, Luke, ended his remarks similarly when he said, "I leave you with the phrase my father always said to me whenever we parted, "Go get 'em, Pal." I think it is kind of cool that as you begin your career in journalism, you received a kind of ritual blessing from one of the journalistic giants of our time. May the fairness of Tim Russert's career transfer to you as the mantle of Elijah passed to Elisha! (2 Kings 2)

Go get 'em, Pal!