What advice does long-time American journalist and talk show host Charlie Rose have for a room full of students, eager to become future journalists? Be curious.
Rose said that a critical part of being a good interviewer and journalist is to have a natural curiosity.
“I try to say something before an interview that I may not even say as part of the interview,” Rose explained, “but that will communicate to them that I am enormously curious about them.”
Rose spoke at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, Oct. 18, as part of an hour-long Q&A with Arizona Horizon host Ted Simons. During the event he fielded questions about his career, keys to success and personal experience in the industry.
The visit came the day before Rose’s award luncheon, at which he was presented with the 2015 Cronkite Award for excellence in journalism.
During the Q&A, Rose repeatedly emphasized the importance of engagement during interviews as a means of connecting with your guest to ensure a lively conversation.
“There is a difference between listening to the person you’re interviewing and actually hearing them,” Rose said.
Rose also shared a story about how his father made him work in a small country store growing up, and how he “sort of snuck into journalism” thanks to his wife, who was doing research for CBS’ 60 Minutes at the time.
During the event, students indulged their curiosity for advice, busily typing away on laptops and scribbling down notes as Rose dished out lesson after lesson from his experiences in journalism. Dozens of soft snapping sounds could be heard as student photographers took pictures of Simons and Rose from the surrounding staircases.
Simons soon invited the students to come up to the microphone and ask their questions.
Rose injected stories of his work between questions from students to illustrate the points he was trying to get across.
In one story, Rose told of an encounter he had with Steve Jobs, and how he tirelessly questioned him about his recent ousting from Apple. According to Rose, Jobs eventually turned to him and said that if he were back at Apple, he would know exactly what to do with the company. That was the comment that Rose was looking for.
“Charlie Rose is a big deal, and seeing him speak is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Matt Lively, freshman Cronkite School student.
Conall Casey-Waid, a junior at Cronkite, was happy with what she heard from Rose.
“I think it was really great to learn how to go into an interview because I think that’s really difficult for me,” she said. “I think I can take some of the things he said and apply it to print, like preparing some questions for an interview but also leaving things open so you can come up with new questions if [your guest] says something in the spur of the moment.”
Before Rose departed the stage, a student asked him what the secret is to going from a journalism major to a famous and successful journalist.
Leaning forward, Rose said, “You have to desperately, excessively want it."
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