2010 Giants Of Broadcasting Luncheon, Grand Hyatt, New York
October 6, 2010
I love covering The Giants of Broadcasting Luncheon because it truly is an event honoring an ancient art, a past that laid the groundwork for where we are today, but a past nonetheless. It's so easy to jump into the fast moving stream of the Internet world, online journalism, blogging, and "citizen journalism" (or untrained reporting, if you ask me) and swipe away the old dogs for being mired in an archaic rusty pool of broken media. But guess what, Internet puppies? Those old dogs sniffed this path clear for you, and while yes, the honorees are from "old school" media, their impact shouldn't be treated as less meaningful.
I tend to get a little schmaltzy when I'm not feeling well, and today is one of those days. I'm struggling to keep my snot shower off of those around me and it feels like a family of meerkats is dangling from each of my eyelids. But the call of a delicious Grand Hyatt Luncheon with some of the most respected people in broadcasting propelled me up the stairs and into the Manhattan Ballroom.
Red and white wine (with a glass of water here and there) was already flowing when I arrived at 11:30a.m. Clumps of men in suits and ties were humming about and eventually the gender gap evened out as perfumed and perfectly coiffed women arrived. I saw Leslie Stahl out of the corner of my eye, shaking hands with and talking warmly with honoree Hal Jackson, Co-founder and Chairman, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation.
I also found Ian Anderson, who later accepted the posthumous award on Art Linketter's behalf with an emotional tribute that only a deeply proud (great)grandson can give. You knew, from the way his eyes glistened as he recalled Linkletter gruffly saying "don't give up," referring to his pursuits into law, Linkletter was a family inspiration, and as Ian Andersonsaid, a true humanitarian.
I explained to one of my tablemates, Frank Leiber, President of Americores, that these stories are why I love this event. It's stories about people before my time, involved in history making events before my time. Stories about trailblazing I can't even comprehend and a mutual respect among journalists in the trenches that I admire and see less of today, what with everyone needing a personal brand and all.
Also at my table was Alina Grossman of VII Photo, an agency begun by 7 photographers. Alina seemed keen on working with Frank (or perhaps the other way around) regarding Hum Media. Haven't heard of Hum Media? Neither had I! How about HumNews? According to Frank, Hum's mission is to cover world issues, concentrating on unearthing those stories that aren't being covered, but are happening in some of the largest developing countries in the world. Frank informed me that they're also involved with innovative technology - working with Intel to enable equipment that relies heavily on electricity in areas where electricity isn't available. They're also working on a chip for equipment that will transmit data directly from the equipment to satellites for retreivel by news agencies, I assume. Weird, it sounds like HUM is globally focused whereas the New York media scene seems locally obsessed.
I had to leave early due to my snot tsunami, but not before Rue McClanahan was posthumously honored along with Daniel Schorr and David Wolper. I also got to see the recorded message that the legendary, still quite ageless, Dick Clark made. He said that since his stroke, speaking has been a challenge, "And I'll answer that challenge!" he declared.
Also honored at the luncheon were Norman Corwin, Writer and Director of We Hold These Truths, An American in England and On A Note of Triumph; Sam Donaldson, ABC News Veteran, former Chief White House Correspondent; Eddie Fritts, former President & CEO, National Association of Broadcasters; Agnes Nixon, "Queen of the Modern Soap Opera"; and Lesley Stahl, Correspondent, "60 Minutes" and "Face the Nation."
I would personally like to thank the lobster bisque that was hiding in a creamy pool of magic under a flakey puff pastry lid. You soothed the porcupines in my esophageal region.