The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
As they covered the death of Walter Cronkite, the cable news networks showed continuous loops of the man at work, and as all the Presidents and all the momentous events — from World War II to the Iran hostage crisis — slipped by, it sunk in, “you’re watching history.”
“Walter Cronkite lived one of the great American lives,” current NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams said on MSNBC, shortly after Cronkite’s death.
Cronkite is fittingly being remembered as the great American newsman as journalists from across numerous generations and mediums discuss him tonight. And of course he was. He earned that title of “most trusted man in America,” reporting with objectivity and honesty. But there was a great humanity to his work. At a time when I was stumbling into journalism and hearing some people act as if journalists had to be something akin to passionless robots, Cronkite was the example that said, “no you don’t.”
This is an exciting business and exciting stuff we cover. As we settle into beats, we realize we are telling stories, and Cronkite — who numerous journalism icons are reminding us was a reporter first and anchor second — had the best story of all to tell: the story of America.
The old saw is that journalism is the first draft of history, and look at some of the drafts he wrote:
~ Dutifully noting the time of President John F. Kennedy’s death and momentarily choking up.
~ Smacking his hands together and saying, “Oh boy,” as the first man walked on the moon.
He appreciated the history he was covering in all its joy and deep sorrow. He reported it articulating the facts but not missing the meaning.
On MSNBC, Williams recalled a friend saying, “Cronkite used to address the nation.Other guys did the evening news.”
We are rightfully told there will never be another Cronkite. The scope and nature of media have changed so radically since his era. And none of us will ever be able to live that great 92-year life he had.
Tom Brokaw said, “He had that old-fashioned journalist attitude that if something was going on, he wanted to be there.”
But as he passes on, a little Cronkite spirit will and should live on in all of us who practice this great profession of journalism.
The 2006 Indianapolis Colts produced one Super Bowl championship and two Christian music artists.
First on stage was punter Hunter Smith, who launched a duo called Connersvine with Indianapolis singer-songwriter Chris Wilson. Then, earlier this year, we got the solo debut from tight end Ben Utecht.
“He was one of my close friends on the team, still is,” Utecht says, recalling that championship season with Smith. “That is something we definitely have in common. He had a guitar in his locker, and there’d be times he’d be writing in the locker room. So we had a chance to talk about music and write some stuff together.”
That locker room dynamic is gone now. Smith and Utecht have moved on from Indy. Smith now punts for the Washington Redskins, and in a few weeks, Utecht will arrive in Georgetown for training camp as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
That will end a very different off-season for Utecht, who released his self-titled debut album in April and has performed and done interviews to promote it.
“God has kind of worked with me and opened the right doors at the right time,” Utecht says from his Cincinnati home.
In Indianapolis, Utecht became friends with gospel music legends Bill and Gloria Gaither, even recording at the Gaither studio and singing at some of the Gaither family “Homecoming” events. He also got to know Christian pop legend Sandi Patty, who he says was “like a mom to me in Indianapolis.” She ultimately made him the first artist on her Stylos Records label.
Even with that support, Utecht said he had some convincing to do in the music business.
Patty’s manager helped him get meetings in Nashville but warned him, “Athletes doing music is looked at as kind of a gimmick. And I had some people tell me flat out, ‘I was doing this meeting as a favor,’ but once they put the CD in, they realized I could sing, and I had trained.”
Utecht comes from a musical family.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich