Thank You, Dan

Dan Rather final broadcast
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
It was a little more than 20 years ago when a young reporter from Denver came to CBS News for a job interview.

Back then, prospective new hires were treated like a side of beef on a hook passing through a slaughterhouse. News executives and show producers gave you the once-over, and by the end of the day, if you passed enough inspections, you were hired.

It was a daunting process to say the least, and what I remember most from that day was the moment I was to meet the anchorman. Dan Rather had just 10 minutes, I was told, and I was shoved into his office. I wasn't shaking ... but I wasn't cool and confident, either. We talked about the news, and soon most of an hour had sped by.

I was green as grass, and it would have been easy to put me in the mulch pile, but Rather took an interest. He told me this: "If you work your butt off and you're half as good as people say you are, you'll do OK here."

For that advice and the opportunity, I'll be forever grateful.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith