The “youth culture” changed the face of broadcast journalism in the 1970s, but the movement now threatens the quality of its work, Jane Pauley told more than 1,000 people who gathered to honor her career Monday.
Arizona State University’s journalism school awarded Pauley its Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism during a luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix. The award is given annually to a major figure in American journalism; former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw was last year’s recipient.
Pauley said many of today’s broadcast journalists aren’t learning news judgment and fact-checking. She urged the ASU journalism students in attendance to study history.
“And when one of you becomes in charge,” she said, “will you please kill that infernal crawl at the bottom of the screen?”
Pauley spent nearly 30 years with NBC News, starting in 1976 when she became co-host of “The Today Show.” She went on to anchor “Dateline NBC” and “Real Life with Jane Pauley,” which made her one of the most recognizable names in the news business.
Pauley was 25 years old when she debuted on “Today.”
Television critics denounced NBC’s decision to hire someone just a few years out of college to host its morning news program. Pauley said she competed against journalists with decades more experience for the job.
“Against all odds — and all logic — I won,” she said.
Pauley had become the first female news anchor in Chicago only a year earlier.