Dan Rather on the set

February 11th, 2009

Inside Thirteen Blogger: Martin Savidge, Worldfocus Anchor

We asked Dan Rather to come by Worldfocus on Monday. For me it was a personal thrill… as well as a professional opportunity to better inform our audience on Afghanistan.

I first met Dan as a young journalist on my second job in TV news, working for a local CBS affiliate in Peoria, Illinois. Yup, I played in Peoria! I was sent to New York and CBS to shoot the much-coveted promotional spot of local guy-with-Dan Rather. You can imagine for a young journalist how intimidating it might be meeting one of America’s most trusted. Before the promo shoot, he invited me into his office just to chat. He knew plenty about Peoria and central Illinois’ place in present and past political history. He made me feel at ease. Later I took a photo of he and I together on the set of CBS Evening News. I have kept it proudly on display in my home ever since.

Rather and Savidge in 1983

For me Rather is also synonymous to a deep commitment of international coverage, he understands that it is essential for American viewers. Americans came to know of many distant lands because Dan went there. His embeds with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan have become iconic, even the stuff of movies. Rather has continued to watch Afghanistan and the rest of the world through his weekly program Dan Rather Reports on HDNet. It’s the kind of reporting we strive for on Worldfocus, with depth and understanding. The world matters. So his insight and experience was perfect for our discussion of America’s new focus on an ancient land.

Before he left on Monday, I asked Dan for a favor which he graciously granted. We posed for a photo on the set of Worldfocus, side by side. For me, history had come full circle.

Rather and Savidge on the Worldfocus set