The Dan Rather Story  | American Journalism Review
From AJR,   May 1998

The Dan Rather Story   

The broadcaster's bio.

By Unknown

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   » The Dan Rather Story
   » In the Midst of the Action

Born: October 31, 1931, in Wharton, Texas

Education: Bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State Teachers College (Huntsville, Texas) in 1953. The journalism and communications building at Sam Houston State University (as it is now known) was named after Rather in 1994.

Personal: Rather lives in New York City with his wife of 40 years, Jean Goebel Rather.

Rather's big break: His coverage of Hurricane Carla in 1961 for Houston's CBS affiliate, KHOU-TV. Rather's marathon performance during Carla brought him to the network.

Books recently read: "The Dream Palace of the Arabs," by Fouad Ajami; "Data Smog," by David Shenk; "News Values," by Jack Fuller; and "Afghanistan," by Eden Naby and Ralph Magnus.

Hobby: fly fishing

What he'd be doing if not working at CBS News: "I would be teaching civics at a junior high school and serving as assistant football coach."

What he told himself when Connie Chung was named his coanchor in 1993: "There are ways, particularly in television, to get to the top or within shouting distance of the top that are short ones. But, over the long haul, there is no substitute for experience." (Through a spokesman, Chung, who is now an anchor and correspondent for ABC, declined comment on Rather.)

Advice for those thinking of becoming journalists: "I don't have any wisdom, only my own experience. Don't get in the craft if you can't say to yourself, 'I really love news.' You have to burn with a hot, hot flame to do it. If you don't have that or don't think you can develop it then don't get in.... You know that old Willie Nelson song, 'Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys'? Well, there's a version of that in news: 'Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Get Into Journalism.' "




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