When he was a local television reporter in Peoria, Illinois, a young Martin Savidge met veteran journalist Dan Rather. Now, after interviewing Rather this week, the Worldfocus anchor discusses the importance of his iconic global reporting.
We asked Dan Rather to come by Worldfocus on Monday. For me it was a personal thrill, as well as a professional opportunity to better inform our audience on Afghanistan. Watch the interview here: No quick peace in Afghanistan’s long-term war.
I first met Dan as a young journalist on my second job in TV news, working for a local CBS affiliate in Peoria, Illinois. Yup, I played in Peoria! I was sent to New York and CBS along with my co-anchor, Anne Ferry, to shoot the much-coveted promotional spot — local TV people with the Dan Rather.
You can imagine for a young journalist how intimidating it might be meeting one of America’s most trusted. Before the promo shoot, he invited us into his office just to chat. He knew plenty about Peoria and especially central Illinois’ place in present and past political history. He made me feel at ease.
Later, I had a photo taken of the three of us on the set of CBS Evening News. I have kept it proudly on display in my home ever since.
For me, Rather is also synonymous to a deep commitment to international coverage, understanding that it is essential for American viewers. Americans came to know of many distant lands because Dan went there for us. His embeds with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan have become iconic, even the stuff of movies.
Rather has continued to watch Afghanistan and the rest of the world through his weekly program, “Dan Rather Reports” on HDNet. It is the kind of reporting we strive for on Worldfocus — depth and understanding. The world matters. So his insight and experience was perfect for our discussion on America’s new focus on an ancient land.
Before he left Monday, I asked Dan for a favor which he graciously granted. And we posed for a photo on the set of Worldfocus side by side.
For me, history had come full circle.
– Martin Savidge