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Russ Mitchell Knows Good Journalism

By on July 29, 2012

There are very few journalists with the talent, charisma, and all-around good nature of Mr. Russ Mitchell.  I recently had the honor to speak to the veteran journalist about his journey from local news to the network to his new home at WKYC in Cleveland, Ohio.

You know the Russ Mitchell resume by heart. He anchored the CBS Evening News weekend editions and The Early Show on Saturday, was a correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning, the CBS Evening News, and The Early Show. But did you know that he’s doing the very job he imagined as a high school student.

‘There have been a lot of people I’ve come across over the years I’ve been in the business who have wanted to be a network correspondent. I was one of them. I definitely had a great run at CBS and when I look back over my career, I won’t have to say for whatever reason that I didn’t get to do that. Because I did.’

With just over six months at NBC affiliate WKYC, Mitchell says he loves being part of a community and having a major role in editorial decisions.

“I am lead anchor and managing editor. I get to exercise those muscles as a communicator—on the air during the 6 and 11 o’clock weekday newscasts and to exercise my editorial muscles to add some context to our coverage. I’m very happy I made the move. I miss CBS. I miss the people. But I love what we’re doing here; So far, so good as they say.”

In the digital age, news consumption is starkly different than the days of Cronkite. So how do you get the younger generation to carve time to watch evening newscasts with their parents?

“It’s not like 1965 where people had to watch the evening news every night with Walter Cronkite because if you missed Mr. Cronkite – you missed it for the day. Today people have all sorts of choices. The internet, cable TV, cell phones, competition is much greater now.”

The fact there are all these other delivery systems out there has ‘changed the game by leaps and bounds’ in the last ten or twenty years. In the last 5 years the proliferation of smart phones and those types of devices, has changed it even more so. Imagine what the next five years will be like. So how does the 52-year-old veteran reporter and anchor get his news?

“I certainly respect the speed of the internet. I am a consumer as well. ‘Its cool to take out my iPhone and get the latest news, that’s George Jetson type stuff.”

The multiple Emmy winner is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. Our  conversation continues with a discussion about diversity in the newsroom and the executive suite. We’ll have that for you right here Tuesday, August 14, 2012 only at healthyblackmen.org.

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