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Are there any social or political parallels between the '60s and today? Daniel Kolich, Aliquippa, Pa.
There's no linear view of the '60s. There's no consensus. When I wrote The Greatest Generation there was a common idea of what that generation was all about. You mention the'60s and you start an argument.
How do you think the role of the news anchor has changed over the years? Kathy Crawford, Ossining, N.Y.
When I first got into the business, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley were the only three people who were doing the evening news at the time. There were no all-news cable on CNN, MSNBC or FOX. Most of these journalistic enterprises were organized by and run by white middle-aged men from the Eastern seaboard. That was the prism through which the rest of the country saw the world. That's changed considerably now. The evening news anchors are competing with the internet. They're competing with the all-news cable channels all day long. They're also competing for the attention of a younger audience that doesn't go home at night and sit down at the dinner table with their parents and watch the news.
Carl Bernstein recently said that celebrity newsand the public's desire for ithas led to the decline of good public affairs journalism. Do you agree? Andrew Lee, Berkley, Calif.
That is a little unsettling to me, how much we have become a celebrity culture country. I was recently back out in the Midwest and because the world is flat in a lot of ways, as Tom Friedman would say, if you go into Sioux Falls, South Dakota and you see the young people, they look just like the young people who are dressed in Beverly Hills or or the West Side of New York. There was a time when celebrity journalism was completely stage managed. The Hollywood columnists were fed morning, noon and night by the studio publicists and wrote mostly mythology. Now you have it going the other way.
How do you keep the hopelessness and depression factor of most news stories at bay? Carol Ruhl, Pittsburgh, Pa.
I guess I'm always the person to see the glass as half full. There's always good news in every news report. If you're going to live in a society, you need to know the underside as well as the bright spot so you can be prepared for dealing with them.
What would your advice be to to up and coming broadcast journalists? Jen Ayres, Columbia, Mo.
Get a broad base of education. I'm not a big fan of journalism schools except those that are organized around a liberal arts education. Have an understanding of history, economics and political scienceand biology, these daysand then learn to write.