News Journalist Brian Williams


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.

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6 thoughts on “News Journalist Brian Williams”

  1. Your ending paragraph really celebrates the life, times, and hard work of interesting and worldly news reporters. They certainly have tough jobs, and can either bring joy or deep sorrow to American households. How do you think Williams deals with these conflicting delivery systems? What types of questions could you ask in order to nail down William’s persona that is not seen on the t.v? Is reporter Williams the same guy who returns home from work at night? I also wonder how his family deals with the fact that Williams is often exposed to these life threatening situations you speak of.

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  2. Cate I love your emphasis on Williams’ well-rounded personality and the many different roles that he is able to fulfill when delivering the news to Americans. I think that this well-rounded personality is especially important in today’s day and age because of the many different tragedies, inspirational stories, or other reportings that are being shared with viewers-as you mentioned. Kendall you raise a very interesting question when you ask if Williams is the same person when he returns home from work every night. I would like to think yes, but I am sure that the many different experiences and events that he has been exposed to have an effect on him when he returns home. It must be difficult to not be emotionally impacted when reporting tragic stories to America. But then again like Cate mentioned Williams reports these news in a sympathetic way.

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  3. Kendall, you bring up a great point. I would definitely like to know how he is able to cope with the amount of devastating information that he must regularly reports on, and how this has impacted his own life. You have raised an additional good point regarding what he is like off screen. I would like to think that he is down to earth, seeing as that he was not raised in a very affluent family, and never graduated college, yet has done incredibly well for himself despite these facts. I would also like to ask him his thoughts on the way Americans live relative to those in other countries. For example, does he think that the millennials in the U.S., who have not experienced the immense suffering that those of our generation in say, the MIddle East, are less in touch with who they are and their rights?

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  4. I am fascinated that you picked someone so “un-millinnial” in the sense that his primary medium, broadcast TV, is not one Millennials seem to use. How do you know about him? Does your family make a habit of watching news? Do you catch his journalism on-line?

    Attending community college and working his way up in the world is also an inspiring lesson.

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  5. When I was little (literally 3 or 4), I use to ask my mom if I could watch the news each night. I would sit on the couch in the family room watching the news while I waited for dinner to be ready. I would actually get upset with anyone who tried to change the channel. Ever since then, I have always loved watching the news. I grew up having NBC news playing in the background on the kitchen T.V. all evening long while I worked on homework at the kitchen table. Brian Williams’ broadcast happens to air around our dinner time, so it’s typically playing in the background as we prepare, eat or clean up our meal.

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  6. Great choice Cate, I’m a huge fan of Brian Williams as well. I grew up watching NBC Nightly News with my parents every night. I remember the panic when Tom Brokaw left, but Williams has been an incredible replacement. Going off what Jordi said above, I feel like Williams is the last link left to the “pre-millenial” era when nightly news broadcasters delivered people their news every night, and served as people’s main source of news. I wonder what will happen to Williams and his position in the future.

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