Dan Rather dropped by the new (and indie and web 2.0) media mega-conference known as South by Southwest (SXSW for those who have been confused by the omnipresence of this abbreviation). He was interviewed by Kate Weidaw, and there are both excerpts and video available online.
Rather said he views the Internet as an important part of journalism and chooses to get his day's news online, as well as from newspapers.
KXAN's Kate Weidaw sat down with Rather and asked what he thinks of today's journalists.
"To be a patriotic journalist is to ask tough questions and to follow up and dig because American journalism has an integral role to play, and over the last five or six years, I don't think we've been doing as good of a job as we could," said Rather.
What do Rather's comments mean for freelance writers and blogging citizen journalists? I think his best advice, from the video clip of his interview, was this.
"Do the hard, rugged investigative digging work that's so often required in all quarters."
While all writers can benefit from his views on integrity and ethics in journalism and writing, I think that his call for work is timely. Especially in this day and age of Internet research and desktop publishing, it's easy to stay in our comfort zones and pluck the low-hanging fruit. Perhaps we need to hustle a little more in the real world.