November 26th, 2004

Long road home

Goodbye, Tom Brokaw

It's always interesting to see the passing of an era. Tom Brokaw will be anchoring his last newscast on NBC Nightly News on December 1st. Tonight Dateline did a 2-hour special detailing his life as a TV personality, covering about 40 years worth of reporting.

It was good for me to see this tonight, although I didn't watch it in its entirety; there is a VHS copy awaiting me which I will watch in the comfort of my own home, probably over my weekend. I watch Tom Brokaw, and listen to him, I look at where I'm at in my life, my career, and I think to myself: I could do what he's doing! I could certainly be a network-caliber reporter, I know I could, if only I would work at it, continue studying the one, lone journalism textbook I have at home which has proven to be an invaluable resource for me on so many levels.

I'm not there yet; but I know I can get there. I'm not afraid of growing old. I have no kids of my own so I don't have the usual stressors that many women my age have. I am free as a bird -- I can move around the country if I wish, and I'll certainly have to for my first reporter job.

Ah, but that's a safe ways off yet. I'm getting ahead of myself. First, I must finish digging myself out of debt, then I can pursue my heart's desire again. I want to work as a reporter; I'm pretty sure I can do it, with practice, practice, practice!!! Then, anchoring. First reporting, then anchoring. Those are my goals.

I think it's pretty neat that I have accomplished so much. I was reflecting on that tonight. I have worked as a professional actress (albeit on the community theatre level), and I have performed live as a drummer singing lead vocals. I got out of Toledo, Ohio. I am working at a news station that is a powerhouse in this market, and I have one of the more high-profile behind-the-scenes jobs. Next, I'm going to add "reporter" and "anchor" to my list of accomplishments. After that, hopefully "novelist"...

Storyteller. That's what Tom Brokaw is, and a phenomenally good one too. He is such an inspiration to me, and I am lucky to have experienced some of his best work. In his closing comments at the end of tonight's show he said that when he was a younger man growing up in the Great Plains, he was afraid that all the big stories had already happened, and that he missed them. He reassured his audience that one thing he learned right away was, that certainly wasn't true. Well... those words are reassuring to me.

I can't wait to sit down and watch that tape of tonight's show. I don't know if I'll be able to hold back the tears on December 1st... after that, we'll get to watch Brian Williams' career unfold, and I'm quite sure he'll be every bit as engaging as Tom Brokaw, but there will never be another Tom Brokaw, either.
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