Charlie Rose Says Journalists Must Do More to Cover a New Era

  • Rose said reporters covering elections have a duty to listen to voters instead of focusing so heavily on the polls.

By Jerri Eddings

Television icon Charlie Rose, accepting an ICFJ award, said journalists had a duty to listen to voters in the recent presidential election instead of focusing so heavily on the poll numbers.

Rose said there is “a chorus of criticism” about how journalists covered the election. “How could we miss it, they say? How could we be so wrong?” Rose said he constantly asked the question about the size of the Trump constituency and whether these supporters would vote.

In retrospect, he said, “We needed to do more than measure it. We needed to know them, give them an opportunity to define themselves. And always that most essential thing, listen.”

Known for decades of insightful interviews with world leaders and other extraordinary people, Rose received ICFJ’s Founders Award for Excellence in Journalism. The award is given to individuals who demonstrate a lifetime commitment to the highest standards of the journalism profession.

More than 500 media leaders and luminaries attended the gala, which recognizes outstanding journalists from across the globe whose work has had a major impact.

“The reason this is such a wonderful evening for me is that it is a tribute to the power of questions and their essential place at the center of journalism,” said Rose, co-host of the “CBS Morning News” and the nightly PBS “Charlie Rose” show. “Questions lead you to the story, which is the point of it all.”

The legendary broadcaster noted that journalists have a special responsibility during major political transitions.

“With change comes challenging times, and we are in a time of change,” he said. “With it comes a demand that we speak truth to power, fact to fiction, light to darkness, freedom to oppression.”

Watch his tribute video and remarks.