Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Dan Is The Man!

My father (may he rest in peace) always said to me and my siblings "I don't care what they say about you...you're okay with me." If I heard that term once, I heard it 1 million times. And at this time in Dan Rather's career, I have to say the same phrase to him. "I don't care what they say about you DAN, you're okay with me."
Most of my students know of my earlier career having worked at WCBS-TV as a desk assistant, researcher, and ultimately a producer. Yes...I saw many "famous" people there from...CBS-TV News, Geraldo and As The World Turns. But when you're working in that environment NO ONE PERSON IS FAMOUS. Dan Rather was (as many times as I've seen him in the hallways) always a gentle-man. He always made it his business to greet people with a bow and a smile, that's what I remember from 1993. No matter what, you could always rely on Dan being a Real Person. And I have to say I wasn't surprised when my student said to me today..."Oh My God Mrs. Bowllan, this letter is from Dan Rather!" Yes....Dan wrote my student! You may remember an earlier blog when I asked for correspondents to respond to my journalism students, Ask a Correspondent. It was very basic and having worked in media and opened many fan letters for the "special" people, I thought it very appropriate for my students to write and ask questions to the people who report the news. Anyway, two of my students wrote Dan Rather after reporting (to the class) a powerpoint presentation on him and his successful background. Never in a million years would I have thought Dan Rather would have written my students back. I say this not because Dan thinks "he's too good." But Dan is too busy and I know he really doesn't have time to write people back...especially with what he's been going through recently. I actually mentioned to the class that "most times anchors can't write you back because they have many tasks in a day."
Well...with all of the current issues Dan Rather is dealing with now, he still has the same grace he had when I used to see him walk through the hallways. He would make it a point to speak to whomever crossed his path. I was the "low person" on the totem pole and Dan wouldn't know me if he tripped over me. Dan was a "big shot." And guess what? He deserves to be just that because he has the life experience and humility that allowed him the freedom of mind to write to my student the following words of inspiration, "I go about my work with renewed determination to work harder trying to come as close as humanly possible to being worthy of what you wrote." He then gives the words of wisdom that everyone should learn when they decide to "put down" a man who has been an inspiration to us in the midst of his recent battle with the media and other organizations. Rather states "Whatever you finally decide to do with your working life, it may be important for you to know that my experience has been that persistence and hard work are the keys to success-however you define it." Wow! Thanks Mr. Rather for plowing through (what must be a difficult time in your life) with grace, fortitude and commitment to the future journalists...you have left an indelible lasting and positive mark on these budding cubs. I tell my students all of the time, we all make mistakes but we all don't have grace...Dan has the grace and we will miss him after March; but as a class wish him "Godspeed."

Thanks Mr. Rather

Dan Rather sounds like a class act! Despite the right wing zealots attempt to discredit someone who has worked so hard to do what is right and what he believes to be best.
EVERYBODY makes mistakes...and if through his VERY LONG career there is only ONE negative - then he is WAYYYY ahead of the game!
Your father (God rest his soul) is a wise man too! And I agree... Dan, your dad and YOU are all ALRIGHT with me!
Lodi NJ
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