CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts Comes to Elon

Here is the link to my storify

Byron Pitts, CBS News correspondent, came to Elon and spoke to a large and engaging audience in McCrary Theater.  Pitts has worked extensively with 60 Minutes and has covered major national events like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.

Pitts’ speech was titled, “We are Tough and Delicate Creatures.”  Pitts elaborated on that as he cited Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 as he saw individual people do extraordinary things, not necessarily all good.

“I saw the worst of us, but I also saw the best of us,” Pitts said.

As he went on to talk about Hurricane Katrina, he noted how there were many looters, but he also said there were people saving lives.  According to Pitts, however, his professional life changed after covering 9/11.

“There was a young marine, 19 years old, and a police officer asked why he wasn’t running from the towers.  The marine replied, ‘I can hear somebody, and they’re not going to die alone.’”

Pitts spoke for about 30 minutes and then opened up for questions from the audience, all while speaking without any notes and infusing humor into his responses.  When a senior Broadcast Journalism major asked about what lies ahead after graduation, Pitts joked,

“Heartbreak, disappointment.”

Pitts also gave encouraging words of comfort, however.  He doesn’t envision the journalism career being in any danger.

“As long as there is a United States of America, and the freedom of information, there will be journalists.  As long as there are children wanting stories whispered in their ear, there will be story-tellers.”

Pitts closed out his conversation with Elon by giving out both his email address and cell phone number.  He cited the need for professional journalists to “pay it forward” to the next generation.

“When you reach your goals professionally, all I ask is that you give back.”

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