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Former CBS correspondent kicks off ‘Quinnipiac Forum’
“My career was accidental, part luck,” said former CBS News Correspondent Bert Quint. In an interview with School of Communications professor and former CBS newsman, Bill McLaughlin, the legendary foreign reporter spoke about his career in television news, which spanned over three decades.
“Two or three people against the world, doing a job we believed in,” is how Quint described the teamwork involved in bringing the world’s trials and tribulations into the homes of million Americans.
Quint was the featured guest on this semester’s first installment of the public affairs show, `The Quinnipiac Forum,’ hosted by Bill McLaughlin. The show, which boasts an annual guest list of notable public figures, airs on the campus cable system, channel 30.
Quint, who began his caree as a print reporter in New England and New York, relocated to Latin America, where he free-lanced news stories from below the American border. CBS later hired him, beginning a long-lasting relationship with the network.
Some of Quint’s most memorable assignments included covering the American invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965, as well as the war in Vietnam and events in Cambodia.
“Bert has covered news from all over the world,” said McLaughlin. “Walter Cronkite used to call him CBS News’ fireman because he was always reporting from the world’s hottest spots.”
Of Vietnam, “It is the kind of thing we talk about after a few drinks,” said Quint indicating the intricacy of the memories.
Cambodia took a personal toll on Quint. He remembers sending two cameramen out into the field to hunt down news. “They never came back,” Quint said.
A happier memory for Quint was his Vatican coverage of Pope John Paul II, who Quint described as a”warm human being.”
McLaughlin and Quint took their potshots at the dumbing down of today’s television news. Quint said, “We’ve become information assemblers, rather than today’s gatherers,” responding to cost-cutting measures at the major television networks that have reduced in-depth international reporting. ” I’m saddened that it could be so much better,” Quinto added.
Quint recently published a fiction book entitled, “Rough Cut From a Bygone War.” It is the story of an over-the-hill correspondent that comes home to confront, and later overcome the old nightmares of his reporting days in Vietnam and the slick realities of today’s television news.
Does Quint have any advice for the young journalists of tomorrow?
“Know something about the world,” said Quint. “To care, you need to know. Observe sights, notice sounds, think about what you are seeing.” And most of all Quint says: “You’ve got to care about the news.”