TCU symposium offers behind-the-scenes look at war reporting

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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FORT WORTH -- Journalists follow the facts, whether they lead to the home of a grieving Syrian widow or to the hallways of the U.S. Congress.

That theme was stressed several times Wednesday night by legendary newsman and Fort Worth native Bob Schieffer during the ninth annual Schieffer Symposium on the News.

The event -- "Challenges At Home & Abroad" -- was hosted by the TCU Schieffer School of Journalism. The symposium audience filled Ed Landreth Auditorium.

They listened as reporters Clarissa Ward and Nancy Youssef, who have recently covered conflicts in the Mideast, gave a behind-the-scenes look at newsgathering during conflict and war.

Reporters in Syria have no "escape route" and must live among the people, Ward said.

"Their hell is your hell," Ward said.

Asked how reporters cope with personal emotions that might surface during war coverage, Ward and Youssef said it is important to stay focused on the news.

"There are people like these who are literally willing to risk their lives," Schieffer said.

Other panelists were Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard and a contributor to Fox News; and Charlie Rose, co-host of CBS This Morning and Person to Person and the host of his own PBS talk show.

Ward is a CBS News foreign correspondent and Youssef is the Middle East bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers, which owns the Star-Telegram.

Schieffer, anchor of CBS' Face the Nation, CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and a TCU alumnus, moderated the panel discussion, which touched on a range of headlines -- from current events such as gun control and the conflict in Syria to more timeworn topics such as the Kennedy assassination.

"Do you think we are ever going to get the truth about what happened here in Dallas?" one audience member asked.

Schieffer, a police reporter for the Star-Telegram when Kennedy was shot, said: "I was there. That doesn't mean I know all about it."

Responding to a question skeptical of the Warren Report, Schieffer described Lee Harvey Oswald as "a coldblooded killer."

Jacob Greenstein, a 19-year-old TCU freshman, said it is a huge source of pride that Schieffer visits his alma mater.

"I think it says a lot about our school that people want to come back and support us," Greenstein said.

John Lumpkin, director of the journalism school, said the symposium panelists also met young journalists-in-training to offer tips and share inside knowledge on their profession.

"It's great," Lumpkin said. "We are in our ninth year, and Bob Schieffer continues to be a tremendous resource for us."

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675

Twitter: @dianeasmith1

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