Rethink Williams’ award

Williams’ award should be reconsidered amid claims against his storytelling.

It’s only been a week since Brian Williams, managing editor and lead anchor for “NBC Nightly News,” was suspended by the network for six unpaid months amid concerns that he was less-than-truthful about his reporting experience during the Iraq war. And it’s only been a few months since he was honored here on Main Campus.

Temple’s School of Media and Communication honored Williams with the Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award on the morning of Sept. 26. Money from the event went toward about 24 scholarships.

The award session, about an hour long, consisted primarily of questions from SMC students with journalistic aspirations. Williams even went as far as telling one student about his commitment to getting the facts right in his stories.

“It’s what keeps you up at night, it’s what makes you sweat, it’s the pressure to get it right,” he said to the audience.

Many journalism students look up to Williams, and SMC’s award gives him a local tie and reinforces the trust we could have in him. The 7-year-old Williams and his parents  watched Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America” and the source of his interest in journalism, he said at the event.

And as aspiring journalists, it has been disheartening watching the anchor chair slide out from under Williams, arguably the closest in this generation to the status Cronkite had.

Journalism is fundamentally about finding the truth and telling it. Dominant mediums may have changed, but that commitment has not and will not soon.

If any further case of embellishment or ethically questionable actions are proven against Williams, his Lew Klein Award should be revoked.

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