Advice for a young person embarking on a broadcast journalism career:
You want to come to the subject matter and try to understand it and explain it. If you can write, that’s the beginning. Second, have some base of curiosity. Third, find a place to stand. Find a place where you can do it. We live in a world where, if you’re good, you can somehow find a way to show it to enough people that if you stand out they will be anxious to know more.
On trying to remain unbiased:
I understand what my role is, which is not to be an advocate, not to be someone who is pushing an agenda. It is in a sense to find out a story and bring to the table as much information and preparation as I can. I’ve never thought of myself as an advocate; I’m simply a reporter. My role is to simply use whatever skills I have to find out what happened, why, who.
His favorite guests:
Among politicians, certainly Bill Clinton because he’s engaged by a whole range of subject matter. When I think about athletes, probably my favorite guest of all time among baseball players was Ted Williams. Richard Serra, the great sculptor, personifies an artist for me. When I think about science, certainly Eric Kandel because of the Brain Series we did. Actors: Clooney, because of friendship, but British actors are interesting because of simply the diversity of what they bring to the table from Shakespeare to comedy to James Bond.
On running for political office:
I would not want to inflict that on America. I do think the question carries with it an interesting idea. I would love to see more people who are not just from the political class engaged by the imperative of service. We need to reach out to people who have real skills. The political process tends to for the most part prevent that. It ought to be possible for people who have not grown up in a political life serve the country.
The story behind that black eye he sported:
I had been to the museum that morning. It was a Saturday morning. I had taken with me my new MacBook Air. As I was coming back, at the intersection of 59th Street and 5th Avenue, I tripped on a curb and put my hand out to save the computer, but in the process got a black eye. Rather than making up a much more interesting story, that’s the story. Apple I think offered to make a commercial but I didn’t take them up on that.