Thursday, August 06, 2015

Story gave me goosebumps ...

We were talking in the newsroom this week about famous journalists we had met over the years. One of the guys had met Bob Woodward of the Washington Post. I was impressed. I have to say the most famous for me was a fellow who anchored at CNN in the 1990s and was very highly regarded by his peers. His name was Bernie Shaw of CNN and many other well known new agencies. I met him at a broadcast convention in Toronto in the late 1998 or 99. When I say I met him, I mean it was a social gathering and there were five or six of us standing together, making small talk. We shook hands, said hello and chatted. I told Mr. Shaw I admired his work. I asked what his most memorable story was. I expected him to tell us about the night he was hunkered down on a 9th-floor hotel room in Baghdad at the very moment the Gulf War was breaking out in 1991. He gave a live account as the bombs and missiles were falling. As incredibly exciting as that was, it was not his big story as far as he was concerned. Shaw said the big story was when he was in Memphis in 1968, the evening that Martin Luther King was shot to death. As he continued speaking, he told us the most amazing story. It was sometime after the shooting that Shaw told us he was approached by King's widow, Coretta King who asked Shaw to stay with her husband's body while arrangements were being finalized. King's wife did not trust the FBI with the body of Martin Luther King. What an incredible story. We stood there, utterly silent. I was amazed to hear this man recount this bit of modern history, right in front of me, from his own personal experience. I had goosebumps.

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