By Ariel Humble
Special to The News
As a junior in high school I visited Texas Christian University with the highest of hopes. I wanted to apply, be accepted, get good grades, snag a degree from the Schieffer School of Journalism and maybe (just maybe) get to meet the grand master himself, Bob Schieffer. I got to tour the Schieffer School that day, with all of its fancy equipment and award-winning publications, never knowing that I would eventually have the chance to be a part of such an establishment.
I applied and was accepted to TCU but came in as undecided or “pre-major.” I had the rare chance to move somewhere new and start over so I decided to be equally as open to my options of study. I think I’ve probably taken a class in every field of study at TCU ranging from theatre to pre-med and nothing ever felt quite as satisfying as writing a good story. This fall I finally gave in to my passion, ignored the ever shrinking job market and claimed journalism as my major. I have finally found my place in the school Bob Schieffer founded.
Bob Schieffer has always been pretty involved at TCU, hosting his annual symposium with people like Arianna Huffington who started and runs the Huffington Post. Ironically, the first year TCU doesn’t beat SMU since I’ve been here, Bob decides to speak at the SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Since TCU and SMU have been long standing partners in academics, I had the opportunity to go over and listen to Schieffer speak on media ethics. The lecture was short simple and to the point like any world-renowned journalist would speak.
I have seen Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation,” other news programs, and of course the Schieffer Symposium that TCU hosts every year. He’s always seemed professional, experienced, and very “let’s get down to business,” which he is. But he’s also very personable. Bob Schieffer grew up in Fort Worth and stayed there to attend TCU and actually started off as pre-med because his mom told him to. “It didn’t get along with me and I didn’t get along with it,” he told the crowd. This immediately relieved any doubts I had about starting journalism my junior year, because Bob did too. As I listened I realized Bob Schieffer isn’t unlike me. He got his first job at the Fort Worth Star Telegram starting at the bottom of the pyramid. Obviously he’s made his way to the top and has been there for quite some time, but I realized Bob Schieffer has been in my exact point in life. He’s faced the struggles as a journalist and built his way up from very humble beginnings.
Bob seemed to be concerned with social media and the effects on our attention span. He mentioned that, “In this age of the internet everyone is an editor everyone is an analyst …everyone has a computer, and if they have a computer they have the ability to publish news whether it be true, false or just a blatant lie.” With the growth of technology and lack of hard editing, or gate keeping it is evident that good journalism is dying off. As a concerned student the question of whether or not a job for me will exist in the future looms in the back of my mind. “Journalism better have a future because democracy cannot survive without it,” Bob answers, “I really encourage young people to get into journalism. What I can’t tell them is whether they’re going to work at a newspaper, a website or a television station.” Bob had once again eased my mind and reinforced something I strongly believed in.
After Bob spoke and answered questions it was announced that a meet and greet would be held afterwards. Knowing that if I hurried I would get to meet my idol I darted out of the lecture hall. I found the room already crowded with SMU students eagerly asking questions and pushing each other to get a good view. I waited my turn patiently with the rest of the TCU students who knew he would make time to speak to his fellow frogs. Moving up in line I got more and more nervous. My heart was beating in my ears and my face was burning. As I got closer I realized he was wearing a purple striped tie with horned frogs on it. That’s when he turned to great me warmly with a smile. I introduced myself and quickly thought of the question I would ask. “I have a southern accent and I’ve been told I should get rid of it in order to pursue broadcast. I noticed you still have a lingering Texas accent, what should I do?” I spouted out before I could get tongue-tied. “Well, as long as you speak clearly it’s OK. People kept telling me the same thing and I tried and tried but I couldn’t get rid of it. Finally I said, ‘To hell with it I’m just gonna be myself,’” Bob said. I then asked him if we could take a picture throwing up our horned frog hand symbol and of course he did. “I think he’s throwing up the pony,” an SMU student shouted obviously confused. He answered by raising his pant leg revealing long, bright, TCU purple socks. He then smiled slyly and concluded, “Just be yourself.”
Editor’s Note: Ariel Humble is the daughter of Sonny and April Humble, and the granddaughter of Loretta Humble, the former publisher of The Malakoff News.