ABC’s “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer reflected on her career as a pioneering female journalist and discussed the future of broadcast journalism at Tuesday’s installment of “The Kalb Report.”
Recalling her own initiation rite into elite journalism, Sawyer shared her experiences as the first female anchor of the award-winning CBS program “60 Minutes.”
“I knew I was in trouble when the entire group of the ’60 Minutes’ correspondents walked down the hall and someone really important said, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do,’ and ended it in the men’s room,” she said.
Sawyer said women have been climbing an “inconceivable mountain” to reach their professional potentials, and applauded the international female journalists in the audience during the Q&A session following the live show.
The installment of “The Kalb Report” kicked off the inaugural International Conference of Women Media Leaders, taking place this weekend in partnership with the GW Global Media Institute at the University.
During the taping at the National Press Club, Sawyer amicably bantered with host Marvin Kalb – although the two haven’t always been close friends, they said. Before her 40-year journalism career began, Sawyer served as a press aide for former President Richard Nixon – the administration that placed Kalb on the infamous “enemies list.”
“I do believe that people can redeem themselves,” Sawyer said of the former president.
Kalb sought Sawyer’s perspective on everything from the “extraordinary times” of the 1970s to the recent social media revolutions in the Middle East and the evolution of tragedy coverage over the past four decades.
Sawyer’s optimistic attitude about journalism framed her view on media’s past and future.
“If anything at all, I see the job of an anchor as is to say, ‘How do we wake up ourselves, our questions and our reporting?,'” Sawyer said.
Kalb questioned the legitimacy of information in the news, as he noted opinion has increasingly leaked into broadcast reporting. Unfazed by ratings and budget cuts, Sawyer said investigative reporting to educate the public defines her role as an anchor and journalist.
“Facts are still the currency of what you and I deal with,” Sawyer told Kalb.