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Georgie Anne Geyer: Epitome Of a Journalist

May 21, 2019

When it comes to the epitome of what a journalist is, there is no better example than Georgie Anne Geyer.  From the way she hunted stories down, found the essence of what needed to be written and reported, or presented on TV news programming, she was the best of what comes from the professional world of journalism.   If you think that high praise, than you have grasped how I feel about her.

One of a kind.  And I am so glad to have read and heard her reports and opinions up until just recently.

The 84-year-old giant of the reporting world died last week.  What an amazing career. 

Early in her career she joined The Chicago Daily News, where one colleague sitting near her was Mike Royko, soon to be a famed columnist. As Mr. Royko noted in his introduction to Ms. Geyer’s “Buying the Night Flight: The Autobiography of a Woman Foreign Correspondent” (1983), it was a time when a woman in the reporting ranks was likely to be called “our gal” and assigned to the society or education beats.

“This was the man’s world into which Gee Gee somehow elbowed her way more than two decades ago,” Mr. Royko wrote, using her nickname, “emerging from the women’s pages a tough, determined, brilliant young reporter.”

“As the years passed,” he added, “Latin America wasn’t big enough to hold her, and she became one of those genuine, and rare, globe-hopping correspondents.”

Ms. Geyer left The Daily News in 1974 and established herself as a syndicated columnist based in Washington. She continued to write her column until a few weeks ago.

Ms. Geyer often turned up on public-affairs programs, like PBS’s “Washington Week in Review,” as well as on the college lecture circuit. In 2000, writing a new preface for a reissue of her autobiography, she noted that young people would often ask her how she “controls” her interviews with notable figures.

“I have to tell them that the way you control your interviews (or any other part of your work) is to know more about the subject than the other person does,” she wrote. “This advice, as you can well imagine, is seldom greeted with deafening applause.”

She set a high bar of professionalism, and integrity, when it came to news reporting and the explanation of complex world issues.  Many will use her as a model for their journalism careers, and Lord knows we need more such reporters than perhaps at any other time in our nation’s history.  But try as they might, few will ever master her passion and sturdy path for explaining what we needed to know.

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