The passing, today, of Daniel Schorr at the age of 93 is a time for appreciation, sadness and remembering.
I met Mr. Schorr a few times over the past many years, but it was more likely from my getting into a cab that he was getting out of at 635 Massachusetts Ave, NW (NPR headquarters). Still, it was a pleasure to be in his presence, and it was always a comfort to hear him on the air.
I wrote an essay for Daniel Schorr’s appearance at the 3 Rivers (now Drue Heinz) Lecture Series in Pittsburgh back in 1999. I can’t find the file (it was done in WordPerfect), but it was an overview of his remarkable career, plus my observation about one of my favorite parts of his interactions with Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday.
Scott, an ardent sports fan, would always ask Mr. Schorr his opinion on who was likely to win the major sports event coming up in the days ahead. I always found it amusing, since Daniel Schorr was not going to be especially up on the latest achievements of Kordell Stewart or any other sports figure of then or any time. Daniel Schorr was much more concerned about more serious things.
This was the only time he was less than prepared to address a topic. Still, Mr. Schorr was always a good sport about it.
Thinking of his career of the pursuit of the facts and larger truths, I can only cringe at the latest “journalistic” efforts of the week regarding USDA official Shirley Sherrod. Although Daniel Schorr had acquired a Twitter account, speed was not the goal of his work. Accuracy and perspective was.
So, as we mourn the loss of Daniel Schorr, I hope we recognize that his thoughtful approach to seek truth and speak it is something that is always at risk. Mr. Schorr, on more than one occasion, risked his career to maintain his integrity.
Mr. Schorr finished his storied career with many years at NPR. I and many of my colleagues will, I am sure, do our best to see to it that the path for Daniel Schorr’s kind of journalism still has a successful home and place in Public Radio and all the kinds of public media still to come.