By Chuck Ross
For many of us, he’s long been our favorite TV journalist. Bob Schieffer, who has hosted CBS’s “Face the Nation” for the past 24 years, will retire this summer.
“Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater,” reports The New York Times.
According to the Times, Schieffer said during his address, “Because this is where my professional career began, this is where I wanted all of you to be the first to know: This summer I am going to retire.” He added, “I’m one of the luckiest people in the world because as a little boy, as a young reporter, I always wanted to be a journalist, and I got to do that. And not many people get to do that, and I couldn’t have asked for a better life or something that was more fun and more fulfilling.”
The Times also notes that “Mr. Schieffer has been a constant across different eras at CBS: from Walter Cronkite and Don Hewitt to Katie Couric and Scott Pelley. He was the anchor of the Saturday edition of ‘The CBS Evening News’ for 23 years. When Dan Rather left the evening newscast in 2005 after a controversial ’60 Minutes II’ report, it was Mr. Schieffer who was called upon to steady the ship and host the newscast for over a year before Ms. Couric took over. Mr. Pelley took over the show in 2011.”
In his 2003 book “This Just In: What I Couldn’t Tell You on TV,” Schieffer recounts this wonderful story: “When my daughters were young, they loved to ask me if I wanted to be a TV reporter when I was a little boy, and they always giggled when I told them, “There was no TV when I was a little boy. We didn’t have a TV until I was in the eighth grade.”
Schieffer was born in 1937, in Austin, Texas. He got his first reporting job 20 years later, in 1957, hired by the news department of radio station KXOL in Fort Worth, Texas. About working for KXOL Schieffer says, in “This Just In”: “The job paid the grand sum of one dollar an hour and featured an overtime payment system that, as far as I know, remains unique to this day. We received ninety cents for the first hour of overtime, eighty cents for the next hour, seventy cents for the hour after that, and so on. If you worked ten hours overtime, that last hour was worth a dime. None of it mattered: I was to be paid for being a reporter, and it was big stuff for a twenty-year-old kid.”
A terrific anecdote and so characteristic of Schieffer: smart, funny, interesting and telling. We’re going to miss him when he retires.
[By the way, Schieffer retold that KXOL anecdote in his speech on Wednesday at TCU. To read his entire speech – which we urge you to do – please click here, which will take you to the
“Face the Nation” website, where it is reprinted.]