Bob Schieffer calls NLP’s mission ‘as important as the journalism itself’


On the Face the Nation set at CBS News’ Washington bureau, Bob Schieffer discussed his distinguished career in journalism, changes he has observed in politics and the news media, and the role of news literacy in the digital age.

Schieffer, the moderator of the CBS Sunday public affairs show Face the Nation, says it’s vital for today’s young people to learn how to determine what news and information they can trust.

“With the coming of the Internet, we are bombarded with more information than any of us can process — some of it right, a lot of it wrong,” he said after appearing at a News Literacy Project (NLP) VIP breakfast. “That’s why it is so important for young people to understand how the news process works, where the news comes from, what they can trust and what they can’t.  NLP is helping them to understand that process, which is why I believe what NLP is doing is as important as the journalism itself.”

During the event, held Oct. 6 on the Face the Nation set at CBS News’ Washington bureau, Schieffer discussed his distinguished career in journalism, changes he has observed in politics and the news media, and the role of news literacy in the digital age.

Among his observations:

  • “Accurate and independently gathered information is as important to our democracy as is voting.”
  • “The most important thing that we do is give people independently gathered facts and information they can compare with the government’s version of events.”
  • “Journalism is not about scratching the surface; journalism is about getting beneath the surface.”
  • “The key to good reporting is not asking the question. It’s listening to the answer.”
  • Face the Nation is about moving the story forward — not about what happened last week, but what will happen next week. Some things just can’t be explained in 140 characters.”

Schieffer was interviewed by Louise Dufresne, an associate producer at Face the Nation and an NLP journalist fellow. She first became involved with NLP as a member of its youth advisory committee and was head of that panel while she was in college.

A reporter for more than half a century, Schieffer, 77, is in his 45th year at CBS News, where he has won many of broadcast journalism’s highest honors, including eight Emmy awards. In 2008, he was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress.

Prior to joining CBS in 1969, he was a reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he was the first reporter from a Texas newspaper to report from Vietnam.

During the NLP event, Schieffer discussed the role of local newspapers as a watchdog over city and state governments. If these publications disappear, he warned, “we will have corruption on a scale we’ve never seen.”

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