Points By Drew Pritt

My Memory of Tim Russert
June 13, 2008, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Tim Russert.jpg

Loyalty, Energy, Determined are the three most descriptive words that can be used to describe Tim Russert, the host of NBC’s illustrious MEET THE PRESS,  NBC News’ Washington Bureau Chief, and Election Night Announcer for a number of cycles. I had the pleasure of working around Tim Russert earlier this year during the Nevada Presidential Campaign Caucus coverage. As an employee of the DNC, I worked alongside my good friend Evan Tanner, and the rest of the advance staff that created the set and worked with Jenny Backus to bring off the Presidential Debate as well as Caucus Coverage.

A fortnight before the caucuses, I was told to procure a better chair for Mr. Russert. I scoured the length and breadth of Cashman Center. Not finding something that would be suitable for his hulking frame I had the chutzpah to enter into the Administration Offices and using my southern charm and smile, charmed the ladies into giving me one of the leather executive rolling chairs from the Board Room. Know Chris Matthews was in the convention center, I procurred a second one in anticipation, and rolled them down to his producer.

Tim Russert made it a point to come find me, too a picture with me, bear-hugged me for the chair, and carried on a conversation with me then. On the day of the debate and later as he passed by me he would smile and say “GO GET ‘EM!” He never acted superior. In fact, Candy Crowley and he were my two favorite press people to work with in that experience.

Feeling homesick during the time, Russerts familiar nature and gregarious attitude really lightened my spirits and I will ever be thankful to Evan for letting me have that job and work around this giant. The news of his death while at his desk was a shock. Yet it was appropriate….working till the end.

During his career, Russert received 48 honorary doctorates and won several awards for excellence in journalism including the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association, the John Peter Zenger Freedom of the Press Award, the American Legion Journalism Award, the Veterans of Foreign Wars News Media Award, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Journalism Award, the Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism, the David Brinkley Award for Excellence in Communication and the Catholic Academy for Communication’s Gabriel Award. Prior to his journalistic career, Russert worked for two of the giants of the modern-day Democratic Party, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Mario Cuomo, both of New York.

Russert earned the right to be counted among the great who have passed on like Edward R. Murrow or Molly Ivins and the trustworthy who still remain like Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw. There are many good reporters but Russert was better than good….he was one of the best!


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Pay tribute to the great Tim Russert at our non-profit, http://www.tributefund.org. We remember the inspiring men and women in our lives.

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