An Iowa native and veteran broadcaster returned to the Hawkeye State Tuesday as part of a lecture series at Wartburg College in Waverly. Richard Threlkeld, a native of Cedar Rapids, went on to cover the world for the CBS and ABC networks. He talked to Wartburg students about the United States after the attacks of September 11th. Threlkeld says the attacks initiated Americans into an unwanted club.He says in much of the world, people unfortunately have gotten almost used to daily acts of violence, and he says we’ve come to become members of that club and will try to get along as best we can while defending ourselves. Threlkeld’s says the role of journalists in the events of the world has changed, because there are so many more choices now for listeners and viewers. He says a lot of people have tuned the news out, and he says that’s sad, because uninformed people make bad citizens and bad voters. Threlkeld was asked to assess the way reporters are covering news today. Threlkeld says today’s journalists are trying as hard as they can to cover events in a market-driven environment, both in newspapers and broadcasting, that makes the coverage of daily events, particularly for well-meaning journalists to do. Some would say the viewers and listeners are to blame for “if it bleeds, it leads” attitude of today’s news. Threlkeld doesn’t agree. He says the fault lies in the buying and selling of radio and t-v shows by large conglomerates whose management has no real interest in the news other than the bucks it can bring in. He says it’ll be tough to improve news until that situation changes. He says as long as tv and radio stations are hostage to quarterly stock market and earnings reports, it’s not going to get any better. Threlkeld’s wife, Betsy Aaron, also a former network reporter, joined him for the lecture at Wartburg.
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