It’s been a decade since NBC’s Meet The Press host Tim Russert passed away from a heart attack, shocking the world but also his colleagues at both NBC and MSNBC who loved him. It’s those colleagues who are now paying tribute to the man who hosted their flagship news program for 16 years, longer than anyone else. Current host of MTP, Chuck Todd, who also hosts a daily version of the NBC show on MSNBC, mentioned his mentor during the closing of Wednesday’s show, noting how it has been a decade since his passing. He also sent out a message on Twitter, saying, “The small gestures, the minute details and nonstop prep, among the important lessons we’ve all drawn from Tim.”
Colleagues Betsy Fischer Martin, a longtime executive producer of Meet the Press who worked closely with Tim Russert for 17 years, and Erin Fogarty Owen, who was a producer at Meet the Press with Tim Russert from 1999 until 2005, co-penned a moving piece on NBC News in which they noted how his death brought reaction from politicians he covered and viewers who adored him, on both sides of the aisle, those who saw him as a trusted news source committed to the truth.
And yet, sadly, the man and what he stood for doesn’t seem to be making its way to the next generation. As the writers noted, “We both find ourselves on university campuses speaking frequently with students eager to succeed in their careers but with no memory or little knowledge of a man who taught us so much, not just about journalism but about making an impact in any profession.” So they decided to make a list of things that the next generation should know, and frankly, something all of us should remember, which include relentless preparation, reading voraciously, thinking creatively, remembering that relationships are key, a little note goes a long way, and learning how to make something complicated easier to understand.
After his death, President Bush paid tribute to him, saying, “America lost a really fine citizen yesterday when Tim Russert passed away. I’ve had the privilege of being interviewed by Tim Russert. I found him to be a hardworking, thorough, decent man. And Tim Russert loved his country, he loved his family, and he loved his job a lot.” The death of Tim Russert was a profound loss. His enthusiasm for the realm of politics was unparalleled, and he drew guests from across the spectrum because they knew they would be treated fairly.