Tim Russert

News Executive/Moderator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his twenty-minute interview (which was the be the first part of a multi-part interview), Tim Russert (1950-2008) speaks about his early years growing up in Buffalo, NY and his decision to go to law school. He talks about his transition to television news, joining NBC News in 1984 as a vice president, and working closely with his mentor, NBC president Lawrence Grossman. He chronicles his next career moves: in 1988, he became the Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief of NBC News, and in 1991 he joined Meet the Press as its moderator. He discusses meeting with Meet the Press co-creator Lawrence Spivak, who gave him the advice to "learn as much as you can about your guest and his and her position on the issues, and then take the other side." He took this advice to heart in his over 16 years at the helm of Meet the Press . He also reveals what he considers to be the biggest news story of his career: the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States. Russert worked for NBC News for over two decades and at the time of his untimely death, he was the longest-serving moderator on Meet the Press. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Washington D.C. on the set of Meet the Press on October 12, 2003.  

"I see Meet the Press as a national treasure. In its 56th year, I am the temporary custodian, and I know that when my time is over, I'll pass it on to someone else." 

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Tim Russert on Meet the Press co-creator Lawrence Spivak giving him the best advice he ever got about moderating
Tim Russert on how he prepares for a Meet the Press broadcast and how he used his family as a focus group
Tim Russert on what he considers to be his most important Meet the Press broadcast: the aftermath of September 11, 2001
Tim Russert on his historical Meet the Press "dream guests": Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler 
Tim Russert on the limitations of television
Tim Russert on Meet the Press as a national treasure
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years growing up in Buffalo; on his decision to attend law school
On going into journalism and his initial reluctance to be on camera
On being tapped to moderate Meet the Press and his thoughts on television news in general
On working on Meet the Press, his process, and how he prepares for a broadcast
On covering 9/11 and the Presidential Election of 2000
On his dream Meet the Press guests; on executive producers Betty Cole Duckert and Betsy Fischer
Shows

Meet the Press

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Tim Russert on moderating Meet the Press, his approach to interviews, and his broadcast philosophy
Tim Russert on moderating Meet the Press, covering the 2000 Presidential Election, 9/11, dream guests, and working with colleagues over the years

Today

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Tim Russert on becoming an NBC News executive and overseeing Today
Topics

9/11

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Tim Russert on his Meet the Press broadcast with Vice President Dick Cheney in the aftermath of 9/11
Tim Russert on how he found out about the attack and how journalists responded to 9/11

Advice

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Tim Russert on Meet the Press co-creator Lawrence Spivak giving him the best advice he ever got about moderating

Bill Clinton

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Tim Russert on covering the truthfulness under oath during the Clinton presidency

Historic Events and Social Change

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Tim Russert on how he found out about the attack and how journalists responded to 9/11
Tim Russert on his Meet the Press broadcast with Vice President Dick Cheney in the aftermath of 9/11

Memorable Moments on Television

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Tim Russert on the Meet the Press broadcast following 9/11 and the tribute to Father Mychal Judge

Television Industry

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Tim Russert on Meet the Press co-creator Lawrence Spivak giving him the best advice he ever got about moderating

Television and the Presidency

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Tim Russert on his coverage of the 2000 Presidential Election and the Supreme Court ruling
Tim Russert on covering the truthfulness under oath during the Clinton presidency

We Cried

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Tim Russert on the Meet the Press broadcast following 9/11 and the tribute to Father Mychal Judge
Professions

Journalists & News Producers

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Tim Russert on his opinion that a vigilant media can change the course of history
Tim Russert on his career trajectory which culminated in journalism

Moderator

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Tim Russert on his career trajectory which culminated in journalism
Genres

News and Documentary

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Tim Russert on the limitations of television news and avoiding gimmickry
People

David Brinkley

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Tim Russert on a David Brinkley quote about how news broadcasters condense a story

Dick Cheney

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Tim Russert on his Meet the Press broadcast with Vice President Dick Cheney in the aftermath of 9/11

Betty Cole Dukert

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Tim Russert on the legacy of former Meet the Press executive producer Betty Cole Duckert

Betsy Fischer

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Tim Russert on working with Meet the Press executive producer Betsy Fischer and the rest of his team

Lawrence K. Grossman

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Tim Russert on briefly working with Lawrence Grossman at NBC

Adolph Hitler

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Tim Russert on his historical Meet the Press "dream guests": Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler 

Lawrence E. Spivak

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Tim Russert on Lawrence Spivak giving him the best advice he ever got

All Interviews

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