The Night I Met Ted Koppel
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Politics and Activism

The Night I Met Ted Koppel

I was starstruck to meet an iconic American Newscaster

The Night I Met Ted Koppel

I am very grateful and thankful to Mrs. Sue Jamison, RMU Vice President - Matthew Millet, and most specially to RMU Provost, Dr. David Jamison, for this once in a lifetime opportunity. This great American university and the wonderful people behind it, have given me so many chances such as this event, to learn, grow and to excel in the future.

Dr. Christopher Howard, RMU President, stated that our university's major involvement in the 2016 - 2017 Pittsburgh Speakers Series demonstrates RMU's commitment to deepening the intellectual and cultural life of our region.

My parents and I were invited to the private reception and formal dinner at the Duquesne Club, which was attended by a lot of RMU high ranking officials and special guests. In addition, we also received tickets from Dr. and Mrs. Jamison to Mr. Ted Koppel's lecture/speech at the Heinz Hall later that evening.

What made it even more memorable was that I was celebrating my 19th birthday. This truly was the best gift ever, my parents and I will remember this night for a very long time. Before I get started with my article, let's check out several pictures:

So how and what does a novice content creator for Odyssey write about Edward James Martin "TED" Koppel, an iconic American broadcast journalist who served for 25 years as the anchor for NIGHTLINE?

This legend has won every major TV Award and bagged the Emmys 42 times including one for lifetime achievement distinction. In 2012, he was honored by NYU as one of the 100 Outstanding Journalists in the United States in the last 100 years. He is currently the Senior contributing editor to CBS News Sunday Morning.

It is a difficult and daunting task, but as an Aries woman, I never shy away from a challenge. So let the story begin.

At the reception party, Dr. David Jamison introduced me to the veteran newscaster as an outstanding RMU student. Mr. Koppel quickly put me on the spot when he asked ,"Who is Robert Morris?" I promptly answered, "Robert Morris financed the American Revolution, and was George Washington's right hand man, and he was also one of those who signed the Declaration of Independence." I was so stoked I got it right and Mr. Koppel even said ,"that was a good answer."

Mr. Koppel proceeded to the next question, "What course are you taking?" I answered, "I am a freshman studying Accounting and that when RMU was first established, it was known as the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy." Dr. David Jamison also informed him that the School of Business offers undergraduate and graduate programs which are AACSB accredited.

Mr. Koppel nodded his head in agreement and Dr. Jamison beamed proudly. He smiled and said, "I nailed it and you were interviewed by Ted Koppel." Oh my gosh, I was on cloud nine!

While we were taking pictures, I told the legend that I watched his July 2016 interview with Donald Trump. Then candidate Trump told him that he would stop tweeting if he is elected president. I jokingly said, "That is fake news." He gave me a big smile and remarked, "He hasn't stopped tweeting."

At the open bar reception, we met and talked with a lot of RMU officials and guests. Dinner was delicious and we were delighted to share a table with Mrs. Ronita Giles, Pat Griffin and Maureen. Afterwards, we took the shuttle to Heinz Hall where the legend spoke about incredible stories and the various high profile and challenging positions he held, international travels on assignment, and the many powerful celebrities and dignitaries he interviewed.

While talking about his adventures in China, Mr. Koppel surprised and delighted the crowd with what I believe is his personal composition, a song about the Great Wall. Not only was he witty, and charming, but he also has an awesome sense of humor! His timing was perfect too, any discussion about a "wall" will surely interest the crowd.

To the best of my memory, the lines were..........

"It's a grand old wall,

It's a long standing wall .....

wears the prize for its size and its age."

"It gave just rewards to tomorrow's hoards ....

drove the OIRATs away in a rage."

"From Beijing to the seas, it has saved the Chinese

till the days of the Qi Jiquanq."

"From Ming to Han .... and Yuan to "DON" .....

With the Great Wall, You can't go wrong!"

Ted Koppel just sang in a baritone voice! The audience loved it and gave a great big applause!! Let's move on to the second part of the lecture..........

Here are some of the QUESTIONS asked and the ANSWERS given:

Larry Richert, the evening's emcee, asked Mr. Koppel about his take on today's news. He quickly replied ,"I don't put the news in the same category as ideology". He added, "I don't care for left wing or right wing ideology and is interested In the FACTUAL argument which should be the middle ground that we should all talk about." He was also concerned that news reporters must exercise caution and should be careful where they get their facts from.

When a question was asked about the need for journalists to remain neutral and unattached to a political side, Mr. Koppel stated a concern that, "Many of his colleagues allow themselves to get drawn into nasty battles and arguments." And that many years ago, President Lyndon Johnson advised, "Never get into a wrestling match with a hog because you are both gonna get dirty and the hog loves it". The audience went wild and gave Mr. Koppel a thunderous applause.

Larry Richert also asked about what model of news media best educates and serves the public? Is it government funded, user funded, advertiser funded, or, combination. Mr. Koppel's answer is, combination, and added that, "There is an extraordinary diversity of news in the country today which always focuses on YOU as a CONSUMER. And if you end up wanting to know what the Kardashians are doing, if that is the essence of your interest in the news, then you deserve the country that we are getting!"

He quickly added that: alternatively, there is so much good stuff out there - one simply has to look and find it. That The New Yorker is a great magazine, TheAtlantic is a great magazine, that BBC does a good newscast and, NPR (National Public Radio) does good work. He also said that FOX on occasion these days does good work because they have become less ideological. Mr. Koppel stated that it is very important to listen to factual reports, and believes that The New York Times is the best newspaper in the world.

For your information, this American broadcasting legend starts his day reading The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He said reading reports and gathering information is his way of life and that this is what he loves to do.

Mr. Ted Koppel highly recommends that, "The American public should give an occasional listen to NPR (National Public Radio), give a listen to what PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) is doing, or even watch a documentary on FRONTLINE." He reminded everyone that all of us can avail of excellent news but we have to look for it and find it.

Mr. Larry Richert proceeded to ask about the current Secretary of State - Rex Tillerson, and his style of dealing with the press or media. Mr. Koppel responded by sharing memories during the time he served as a diplomatic correspondent. He said "Henry Kissinger was a very good Secretary of State because he understood how to use the media as an additional tool of diplomacy." He accompanied Dr. Kissinger on long flights and that news correspondents were allowed to use tape recorders while the Secretary of State gave detailed background into what was going on in negotiations between the Egyptians and the Israelis, and the Syrians, etc.

Mr. Ted Koppel was also asked about what he thinks is the likelihood of Iran or North Korea starting a nuclear war. He replied that ,"It is very slim as far as Iran is concerned." However, he cautioned that we need to be more concerned with North Korea because we don't know where their nuclear facilities are located - these might be hidden in caves. He added that ,"China can exercise a greater influence over North Korea but they don't want to undermine NK altogether for fear that South Korea might and will have a unification." He also said that, "China does not want a United Korea for a whole lot of reasons."

Mr. Ted Koppel ended the lecture by giving the audience a glimpse of his book, LIGHTS OUT. It was horrifying to hear that this cyberattack on America's major electric power grids can have catastrophic consequences.

He stated that, "The United States is not fully prepared to handle this type of a situation, and stressed the importance and urgency to prepare for what might be a DOOMSDAY scenario which could last for months." He then reminded everyone to think about it carefully and maybe to consider and start stocking up on food, water, medicine and emergency supplies.

I will definitely get a copy of LIGHTS OUT, this will be a good book for my 2017 summer reading. The choice is entirely up to you. In my opinion, when an iconic legend like Ted Koppel talks, everyone should listen and heed his advice.

I want to share a couple more pictures taken on The Night I met Ted Koppel. A night I will remember forever.

Much love, respect and a lot of thanks to Dr. David Jamison and Mrs. Sue Jamison.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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