5. Print or Broadcast Journalism?
RCS: Back in February, we interviewed Tony Kornheiser and asked how much he missed writing. He responded, "I miss writing enough that I wouldn't do it anymore. I can't cause I'm no good anymore. I do all the major media mediums. I do radio. I do TV. I do newspapers. I respect print more than anything else."
Do you also have a greater respect for print journalism than broadcast journalism?
Brennan: I look at them differently, but yes, I do. I'm a print person first and foremost. I agree with Tony, who happens to be a friend and neighbor of mine. We worked together for 12 years at the Washington Post, and even went on vacation together with some other journalist friends to China after the Seoul Olympics in 1988. I've never laughed so hard on a vacation in my life. I think Tony is a great writer, and I wish he were still writing. That's his decision, of course, but I miss him in the newspaper.
Writing is the thing I respect most. That doesn't mean I don't respect television or radio or speeches or the other things I do. I try to throw myself into all of those with all of my energy and passion. But writing has always been first and foremost for me. It probably always will be. Mike Wilbon and I have talked about this over the years. We were the same year at Northwestern, Class of 1980. Mike always says that we shouldn't tell people what class we were in, that they then can do the math and figure out how old we are. Isn't that funny?
Anyway, over the years, Mike and I have talked to students at Northwestern and when they say they want to be on TV, that they want to do what Mike does, or, to a lesser degree, what I do on TV, we smile at each other and Mike says, "Well, write for twenty years and come back and talk to us." That's what Mike did and that's what I did. It's all about the opportunity to learn how to report and write a story, about the lessons learned through writing, and the ethics and the serious journalism that we've been able to practice. So, yes, print has always been my foundation and something I care very much about, and it always will be.
10 Questions with Christine Brennan