In 2019, media—from social to news—plays an important role in the lives of consumers. People are constantly aware of newsworthy, and not so newsworthy, developments from around the world nearly as soon as they occur. With this ease of access, the time when newspapers and television were the main means of delivery for news can be easily forgotten. The men and women who spent their careers informing others and becoming household names may be all but forgotten by the new generation. Bob Schieffer dedicated his life to news. His work as a reporter and news anchor reached millions of viewers and helps define the role of television news today.
Bob Schieffer: The Early Years
Born February 25, 1937, Bob Schieffer spent his childhood in Fort Worth, Texas. He attended Texas Christian University where he played baseball and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. Despite originally training to be a pilot, after a baseball accident, Schieffer was no longer able to pass the eye exams, forcing him to give up his pilot training. His time at desk duty, however, served as an introduction to reporting as he edited The Global Ranger, the newspaper for Travis Air Force Base.
After leaving the Air Force, Schieffer returned to Fort Worth where he worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. During his time at the newspaper, he started to make a name for himself covering the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War.
Schieffer's "Media-oric" Rise
In 1969, Schieffer joined CBS, where he worked for 46 years. Before becoming the anchor for Face the Nation and CBS Evening News, he covered the Pentagon, the White House, Congress, and the State Department. He was one of the few to cover all four of Washington’s major beats. In 1982, he was named the network’s chief Washington correspondent and became the anchor and moderator for Face the Nation in 1991. For 23 years Schieffer also anchored the Saturday edition of the CBS Evening News.
Outside of his work as an anchor, he has conducted several rare interviews, including ones with Fidel Castro, Yasser Arafat, and Saddam Hussein. Schieffer has also conducted interviews with every United State’s President since Nixon, and many seeking the office, and has moderated three debates for the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Presidential elections.
Over his years as a reporter, Schieffer won many awards in broadcast journalism, including eight Emmys. He was named a living legend by the Library of Congress, and he was inducted into the National Academy of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. His alma mater, Texas Christian University, named its journalism school and the College the program is located in, after Schieffer.
Shieffer's Literary Endeavors
2003 Easton Press Edition of This Just In
In 1989, Schieffer, in conjunction with Gary Paul Gates, published his first book, The Acting President. In it, the authors examine the Reagan administration and how it was run from 1980 to 1988.
Schieffer’s second book, This Just in: What I Couldn’t Tell You on TV, was published in 2002. This autobiography shares stories about his time at CBS that only his colleagues previously knew. Easton Press published a beautiful edition of This Just In (shown and linked above) in 2003. Of the work, Schieffer says:
"I became a reporter because I always wanted to see things for myself and make my own judgments about them. Those events I covered have become part of our history and you already know most of them. But I want to tell you about the parts that didn't get on television or in the paper, the serious parts and the not-so-serious parts, the good times I had, and the presidents, senators, correspondents, big-time crooks, and small-time swindlers I came to know. Here are the stories I tell my friends, and they are the stories I want to share with you."
In his third work, Face the Nation: My Favorite Stories from the First 50 Years of the Award-Winning News Broadcast (2004), Schieffer explores Face the Nation’s live broadcasts and their historic moments. He shares with his readers anecdotes about guests, stories, and events he covered ranging in topic from domestic affairs and American Presidents to foreign policy to culture.
Schieffer’s fourth book, Bob Schieffer’s America, contains short essays, covering a wide variety of topics, mostly compiled from the “Final thoughts” segment of Face the Nation.
Overload: Finding the Truth in Today’s Deluge of News, his most recent book, was published in 2017. In it, he interviews over 40 media leaders to examine how the role of media is changing and how it impacts citizens.
Sources: Bates, Matthew, Capt. (Apr. 19, 2006). CBS News Anchor Proud of Air Force Past. Retrieved Dec. 28, 2018, here.
Bob Schieffer. (Feb. 25, 2016). Retrieved Dec. 28, 2018, here.
Koblin, John. (May 29, 2015). Bob Schieffer of ‘Face the Nation’ Prepared to Sign Off. Retrieved Dec. 28, 2018, here.