I take a certain pride in having maintained a reputation for fast copy throughout my newspaper career. Fast-breaking stories left my typewriter in a hurry. Not great literature, perhaps, but fast, and usually accurate.
Watergate just happened to come along at the same time as the demand for honesty in relations between the sexes, in advertising, in ecology, in almost everything. It just stumbled into that great big elephant trap that had already been built for it.
I do think that the success, although still not complete... in the recognition of equal rights... to all Americans, regardless of color, creed and so forth, was also one of the best stories we've had to report.
We all have our likes and our dislikes. But... when we're doing news - when we're doing the front-page news, not the back page, not the op-ed pages, but when we're doing the daily news, covering politics - it is our duty to be sure that we do not permit our prejudices to show. That is simply basic journalism.
I had as much time to prepare for that moon landing as NASA did, and I still was speechless when it happened. It just was so awe-inspiring to actually be able to see the thing through the television that was a miracle in itself.
The military people don't like it; the government probably doesn't like it, but the people should know what they're sending their young people into when they permit their governments to declare war and engage in war.
The very first time a politician puts you in his target is sometimes a disappointment, because perhaps you thought you were friends and getting along well... But it is not something that you dwelled on. At least, I did not.
The whole period of the '60s changed a lot of us; there was never a decade like that in American history... to have the decade capture one of the great accomplishments of this century: man landing on the moon.
I can swear on a stack of Bibles that not once in doing the 'CBS Evening News' for 19 years - well, I take it back. Once perhaps. But during 19 years, with perhaps one exception, was I ever aware of any political or commercial pressure on that broadcast whatsoever.
The death of Churchill at 90 was one of those watershed moments in which the obituary rises to a special calling beyond the sharing of remembered times. It gave an older generation a rare opportunity to explain something of itself to its children.
Helping set the day's agenda and deciding what we used and editing it, that was a journalistic high point. I liked reporting as well. Just doing the news - the live performance - wasn't important. Working on the desk was.
As anchorman of the CBS Evening News, I signed off my nightly broadcasts for nearly two decades with a simple statement: 'And that's the way it is.' To me, that encapsulates the newsman's highest ideal: to report the facts as he sees them, without regard for the consequences or controversy that may ensue.