Remembering a Journalist Par Excellence

Journalist Phil Record of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
I lost one of my closest friends this week and journalism lost one of its best - Phil Record of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Unless you read the Star-Telegram or were a part of our profession, the name Phil Record won't ring a bell. But when I was very young and Phil was promoted to night city editor at the newspaper, he took a chance on me. He convinced his boss to hire me to replace him on the night police beat.

He taught me everything I know about being a reporter and a lot of what I know about life, and we were friends for more than half a century.

Phil rose to the highest ranks at the paper, was later national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, and after four decades at the paper, taught ethics to generations of journalism students at TCU.

There was nothing fancy about Phil. He was just an old-fashioned beat reporter who loved the news, took nothing for granted, and never wrote a story unless he was absolutely sure he had it right.

TV personalities and well-known bylines come and go, but reporters like Phil Record at newspapers across America are the reason journalism evolved into what it became in modern America - the crucial source of independently gathered, accurate information that citizens can compare to the government's version of events.

We can no more have democracy without that, than we could have it without the right to vote.

I'll miss my friend, but I'll never forget what he taught me and the values that made him who he was.

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.