A Bittersweet Tribute to Don Hewitt

Don Hewitt, who died this week, changed my life. Last year, I finally got to tell him that face-to-face.

In 1996, “60 Minutes” – the program that Hewitt originated and produced – did a segment called “You Arrogant Journalists.” Mike Wallace and his crew covered a hearing before the Minnesota News Council on a major complaint by Northwest Airlines against WCCO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis. The council upheld the complaint, agreeing that WCCO practiced shoddy journalism.

I missed it when it aired, but a friend of mine gave me a videotape and said: “Why don’t we have a news council in Washington state?” I was a media critic at the time and thought having a news council here was a good idea. An organizing committee formed, and we launched the Washington News Council in the summer of 1998. [Read more...]