An icon was in the building, and everyone knew it.
Technically, he was on the phone, but that did not matter to the 20 students in the Broadcast Writing class at Northwestern University.
We were juniors in college, we were aspiring anchors and reporters, and we were about to speak to Tom Brokaw.
The whole situation had taken everyone by surprise. We had arrived at the TV lab for our usual class, only to be greeted by the chair of our broadcast department, Joe Angotti.
“I think we’re going to be able to get Brokaw on the phone,” he announced.
Angotti, I should mention, was once Brokaw’s executive producer at NBC Nightly News. We students already knew that fact and revered Angotti accordingly, but we never expected this.
The man can just summon Tom Brokaw on an ordinary weekday afternoon? What other mystical powers does he possess?
But our questions about Angotti quickly gave way to our excitement about Brokaw.
He’s calling? Right now? About what?
And then, once the A/V folks in the journalism lab had patched Brokaw’s call to the classroom’s speaker system, we waited until …
That voice — part gravel, part gravitas — confirmed our hopes. Tom Brokaw was on the line. (more…)