GW added another distinguished scholar to its list of James Clark Welling presidential fellows – Marvin Kalb, former award-winning television correspondent and host of the Kalb Report.
The University appointed Kalb as its first Welling presidential fellow of the academic year in early August. Since 1994, Kalb has hosted 56 public affairs forums at the National Press Club.
“I hope to have the opportunity to speak with students and try to share those experiences that I had which might be of interest to them in ways that will expand their appreciation of the fantastic work journalists do,” Kalb said.
Kalb also hopes to discuss with students how journalism enriches democracy, he said.
“Without a free, vibrant and exciting press, we’re in trouble. With it, we’re blessed,” Kalb said. “If I get the opportunity to express that broad idea in concrete terms with students, then I will be a happy fellow.”
Kalb also said he wants to impart upon students the importance of continued quality in journalism as a means to earn the respect of the American people.
“Journalists should not be happy just churning out a story,” Kalb said. “There should be the feeling that the story is as close to being a true, honest, accurate reflection of reality, so that the people reading, listening or watching can appreciate the role of the journalist. If it seems to the customer of the news that it’s all easy, slick, quick and customized, then people will lose respect for the product and that would be a horrible thing.”
Kalb’s appointment as a Welling fellow will allow him to be more actively engaged at GW, said Michael Freedman, vice president of Communications and executive producer for the Kalb Report. “He has always done anything that GW has asked him to do. Marvin Kalb will be a stronger presence on our campus. My only hope is that students take advantage of this.”
Kalb will be working with Freedman and SMPA Director Lee Huebner to coordinate his activities at GW as a Welling fellow, according to a news release.
Freedman said the University recommends candidates to the council of deans, which then approves nominees for Welling fellowships or professorships before the University president signs off on the nomination.
“Marvin Kalb has always led by example,” University President Steven Knapp said in a statement. “His accomplishments as both a journalist and an educator have infused generations of reporters with the knowledge, desire and courage to strive for excellence. It is an honor and a pleasure to continue our long association with Mr. Kalb.”
During his 30 years in broadcast journalism, Kalb served as the chief diplomatic correspondent for CBS and NBC News and as the moderator of Meet the Press. Additionally, he was the first director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Kalb is a contributing news analyst on the Fox News Channel.
Kalb will host the first of four forums over the next year on Sept. 25. Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, will discuss the role of the television anchor in our society during Kalb’s first forum.
“She’s in the process of finishing a very noteworthy, important week of reporting in Iraq. I want to find out what makes her tick to the degree that I can,” Kalb said. He added that he would like to discuss Couric’s views on the war and Iraq as well as how the evening news has evolved over time.
Couric will deliver the evening news from Washington rather than New York the day of the forum so that she can participate, Freedman said. He added that guests on the Kalb Report do not receive payment for their appearances.
The Kalb Report is broadcast over the CBS radio network and the New England Cable News. It is also made available through public television by Oklahoma Educational Television Authority and American Public Television. The series is paid for in full by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and is produced by GW, the National Press Club and Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center.