Turn on NBC Nightly News and there is Brian Williams. Looking at him, you would expect him to be an Ivy League graduate with a graduate degree in journalism. After attending a community college, Catholic University and George Washington University, Williams ultimately ended up interning for the Carter administration, and never returned to college. Nevertheless, he has been an incredibly impactful figure in the homes of millions of Americans.
During a time in which many young Americans receive their news updates via Twitter and other media websites, Williams has never tried to reinvent his job as a news broadcaster. He recognizes that there is still a place for traditional journalism, and understands the hard news that he must communicate with his viewers each evening. Nevertheless, his humor and “good-guy” personality, as well as his evident care about his job and the stories he reports, helps Williams connect with mainstream America.
Brian Williams is not one of those reporters who thrives on the pain of others, just to boost his ratings without reflection on the subject at hand. Williams throws himself in to his job, getting as much firsthand experience as possible, so that he can communicate the correct information to his viewers who are unable to do the same. Although many stories that he covers do not have happy endings, Williams make an effort to communicate good news to his viewers each night through his “Making a Difference” segment. This segment highlights the good works of people around our country who have made a difference in the lives of others, which leaves his viewers with joy each evening.
In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. The journalist is most recognized for his coverage of the Asian Tsunami in 2004 and of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He has traveled the world extensively, including two years covering the President on board Air Force One. He was the first NBC News correspondent to reach Baghdad at the start of the Iraq war, where he was part of a U.S. Army helicopter mission that was forced down by enemy fire. Nevertheless, Williams has returned to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran various times. This past June, Williams sat down with exiled National Security Agency leaker, Edward Snowden, for his first U.S. interview. These are only a snapshot of events that the well-recognized journalist has covered. Anything that is going on in the United States or around the world, Brian Williams is on it.
However, Williams is not all business. He has been a guest of Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Jimmy Fallon. In fact, he has hosted Saturday Night Live, as well as made several guest appearances on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. It appears as though he is also an aspiring rapper.
We all could learn a thing or two from Brian Williams. He has traveled the world and has clearly witnessed so many world-changing events first hand. He exposes himself to life-threatening situations in his many out of studio reports in order to keep millions of Americans up to speed on world events. We could all learn many things from his experiences and what it is like for him to see firsthand the struggles and devastation not only in our own country, but around the world.