Tuesday Morning: Brian Lamb

Brian Lamb. Chairman of C-SPAN Networks, interviewer of many presidents, including Obama, Nixon, and both George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, and a man who doesn’t mince his words when it comes to all things journalism and media. Solidly realistic, he offered genuine advice, and any offense some people might have taken was (probably) unintentional. His speech was unique so far because he didn’t start with telling us his background story. His first words were, “Why are you here, attending the Washington Journalism and Media Conference.”

He picked random people in the audience to answer, and commented on their reasons and future plans, usually with a story from his past or some helpful advice. He wasn’t afraid to tell you that you weren’t aiming high enough , and where you might be mistaken or thinking in the wrong direction. He continued with follow-up questions, like where you planned to attend college and what you planned to do with yourself during the rest of your life.

The main points he left me to think about when gathering a story:

1. Why do people get involved?

2.Who owns things?

3. What is the motive for a person’s response?

4. Where is the money coming from?

In addition, he told us wait a while and find out ALL the facts; speed is important but accuracy is even more important. The only career advice he gave us was to work our connections, and play the long game, meaning stay at your jobs for awhile and work your way up in a small town, rather than constantly move around bigger companies getting small roles. Getting your name out is more important than where you work. All in all, I got a positive impression of him, although a few students complained that he rubbed them the wrong way. I agreed with most of his advice, and thought that he was a good role model for prospective journalists.

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