In the world of mass-media, it isn’t often that the work of one journalist is praised as much as Tim Russert’s has been this past week in reaction to his passing late Friday afternoon. Television, radio and print have been inundating audiences with Russert’s successful work in exposing the realities and issues facing America’s political landscape.
In looking at Russert’s career and life, many political analysts remember him for changing the way American elections are covered. Russert’s simple explanation of the deadlock race between Bush and Gore on the night of the 2000 presidential election stands as one of the most memorable broadcasts to date. Russert scribbled “Florida Florida Florida” in red on a plain white memo board, and the image will forever be imbedded in viewers’ memories.
Many viewers will fondly remember his uncanny ability to connect with interviewees. Late Friday evening, Ethel Kennedy, the late Robert F. Kennedy’s wife, noted his in-depth preparation for interviews on NBC. “He had done his homework, so we didn’t have to do ours,” she said.
Russert set the bar the highest it can reach in the field of journalism. As an analyst, journalist and politician, Russert will remain a symbol of reporting at its best. He will be missed.