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10 Plus 1: Ed Bradley, On The Other Side Of The Table

(CBS)
In his 25 years with "60 Minutes," Ed Bradley has asked questions of everyone from Bob Dylan to Timothy McVeigh to Neil Armstrong. But this week he's kindly agreed to put himself in a different role and answer some questions from us. Below Bradley gives us his thoughts on journalism, discusses how he avoided being pigeonholed early in his career, and tells us whether or not he would ever want to anchor the "Evening News" full time.

What do you do at CBS News?

I report stories for "60 Minutes."
What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
Foreign news.
Give us a great behind the scenes story.
I once flew to London to interview Sir Laurence Olivier. After one roll of film (about 10 minutes), he leaned over and said, "Well, that's it partner." I knew I didn't have a story. I needed at least another five rolls of film and I refused to let him get out of the chair and just kept him glued there until we got what we needed. That story led to an Emmy. And, it almost didn't happen.
Have you ever been assigned a story you objected to? How did you deal with it?
When I first started in New York at WCBS radio, the assignment editor automatically assigned any story that had a minority in it to me. I objected to being typecast and told him if I didn't get a variety of stories—as other reporters did—then I would take it up with the news director.
If you were not in news, what would you be doing?
If I had the talent, I'd play bass guitar and sing in a kicking band.
Do you read blogs? If so, which ones? If not, what do you read on the Internet?
Occasionally; I don't have one I read on a regular basis. The most recent one I've checked out is Collectanea and their podcast #1.
What's the last really great book or movie you found?
I re-read In Cold Blood; the best movies for me this year were "Crash," "Syriana" and "Munich."
What is your first memory of TV news?
Watching John Facenda on WCAU in Philadelphia.
I was fascinated with the process and felt more comfortable with him than any other newscaster. There wasn't even a close second. One of my great thrills was to meet John Facenda late in his life.
If you could change one thing about the profession of journalism, what would it be?
That we be more proactive than reactive. That we could have more time to tell stories.
Who is the most fascinating person you've covered and who is the biggest jerk?
I can't tell you the biggest jerk because I may have to interview him/her again.

One of the most fascinating was Howard Stern. I went into the interview not really liking him and at times being turned off by his radio program. I came out of the interviews with him having developed respect for what he does and an appreciation of how smart he is. I still think his humor is too locker room, and sophomoric but it works.

Finally, a question from reader (and media critic) Eric Deggans:

Would you like to be anchor of the CBS "Evening News"? And if not, why not?

I have never had an interest in being the anchor of the "Evening News." It's nice to do it on an occasional basis but I like the freedom that comes with doing stories for "60 Minutes" and the variety of stories I get to report. For me, anchoring was too much of being in the same place every day.
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