Last night, the Duke community had the unique opportunity to hear the story of a man renowned for getting others to tell their stories-journalist Charlie Rose, Trinity '64 and Law '68.
The esteemed executive producer, executive editor and host of the self-entitled "Charlie Rose" show visited Duke to accept this year's Futrell Award. The award, which was presented by the DeWitt Wallace Center for Communications and Journalism, is given each year to a Duke alumnus who has exemplified the spirit of journalistic integrity and achievement.
In the Sanford Institute commons, Rose delivered a public lecture entitled "The Art of the Interview" during which he reflected on some of his most memorable interviews, professional obstacles and the insight he has garnered during the course of his career.
In each of his interviews, Rose tries to make his guests comfortable expressing themselves. "I try to elicit from people what they know, what makes them tick," he said.
The television host of the nightly, hour-long program emphasized the importance of beginning with a question that will direct the rest of the interview. "Asking the right question can be as important and fundamental as anything you do," said Rose, whose show is syndicated on PBS to over 200 PBS affiliates.
During his speech, Rose discussed the various skills that a successful interviewer must master. "My notion is [the interview] is the art, but the science is preparation," he said. "Security and knowledge frees you."
Rose also adamantly defies the typecast of contemporary television personalities. "I am a questioner-not an entertainer, politician or a preacher.... I am not someone who comes with... an agenda," said Rose. "I provide the American public with a front-row seat of history."
During his college years, Rose was uncertain about what path his life would take. After trying a stint in law, he realized that he was more interested in the clients than the lawyer. At that point, he decided to try his hand at journalism. When Bill Moyer offered him a job as the managing editor of "International Report" in 1974, he eagerly accepted.
"I am passionate about my work, so when the opportunity arose, I was ready," said Rose.
In his time as a seasoned journalist, Rose has interviewed the likes of Yitzhak Rabin, Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, Martin Scorsese and countless other notable figures. In 1987, Rose won an Emmy for his interview with serial killer Charles Manson.
As he reflected on his life's work as the anchor of "Nightwatch," his numerous special projects and his current job as correspondent for "60 Minutes II," Rose said, "I've had a wonderful journey that has allowed me to get where I am."
Throughout the entire lecture, Rose highlighted his story with jokes. Amid the audience's laughter, Rose recounted a humorous anecdote about being a "silly sophomore" in current James B. Duke Professor of English Reynolds Price's class. Above all, Rose also stressed that his job is about having fun.
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