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Bill Kurtis

  • American journalist
  • Born September 21, 1940

Bill Kurtis (born William Horton Kuretich; September 21, 1940) is an American television journalist, producer, narrator, and news anchor. He was also the host of a number of A&E crime and news documentary shows, including Investigative Reports, American Justice, and Cold Case Files. Previously, he anchored The CBS Morning News, and was the longtime anchor at WBBM-TV, the CBS-owned and -operated TV station in Chicago. Kurtis is currently the scorekeeper/announcer for National Public Radio (NPR)'s news comedy/quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, as well as serving as the host of Through the Decades, a documentary-style news magazine seen on CBS/Weigel Broadcasting's digital multicast network, Decades syndicated subchannel.


A journalist enjoys a privileged position. In exchange for not being able to participate in the rough-and-tumble issues of a community, we are given license to observe it all, based on the understanding that we'll tell everyone what happens fairly and squarely. That's harder than it sounds.




'Frontline' does 10 news shows a year, so one a week is quite an undertaking.




I think I'm so old I'm in. We call it the 'Tony Bennett Syndrome.' For some reason, young people think I'm cool.




Think of it: television producers joining with newspapers to tell stories. It's journalism of the future. Advertising will follow the crowd - the 'crowd' being viewers and readers, of course, which could bring revenue back into journalism.




There's something magical about putting yourself into life. You've got to stand up and take responsibility for your own life and you cannot abandon that.




Choose something you like to do. I know it's a cliche, and you've heard it over and over. But the reason is, you're going to have to work long and hard to achieve any success. You better like it or life is going to be terrible.




I believe that young people are looking for answers to the big questions just like everyone else, and that they respect intelligent comment to help guide them through tough times.




First of all, I'm a Midwesterner, being from Kansas, and Chicago is basically a big Midwestern cow town. It was built from the stockyards, and everyone is very friendly, and it's at the edge of the tallgrass prairie. There's just a good feel to it.




There's room for a diversity of ages on television.




All vacations can come down to a few little moments - what do your remember when you're alone, totally relaxed and taken out of yourself to appreciate this other world.




The one important thing you do as boss is you set the standard. The minute you go in and say 'we'll let it go this time,' you set a new standard, which is lower. So you cannot do that.




I have an affinity for Africa, especially East Africa, and Kansas looks very much like that.




I've been producing documentaries on global warming for 20 years and have seen the early warnings of extreme weather events come true.




My personal philosophy is I'm running a 100-yard dash, and I haven't reached the end.




That's the reason I left the networks. I wanted to write and report and coanchor.




The prediction that glaciers will be gone from Glacier National Park has been moved up by 10 years to 2020, the same year it's predicted the Arctic Sea will be ice-free in the summer.




I travel so much on stories, so I don't take vacation much, but one place I go back to again and again is my ranch.




Politics is still the No. 1 sport in town and the scoreboard shows the U.S. attorney's office leading.




With news, especially investigative pieces, you've got to be really smart and really lucky to be timely and to not get beaten by the big guys. You can't go head-to-head with the networks.




The most frightening interview I've ever done was with Dr. Lonnie Thompson of The Ohio State University on the subject of global warming.




Movie stars and singers never fully pass away because their images are replayed on film and recordings, over and over.




I never wanted to retire. I wanted to kind of shift my work pattern so I could stay fresh and invigorated, and use the experience that I had gained in 30 years, but in a slightly different direction.




You know, in the beginning when your first payroll comes up and you have to borrow money to meet the payroll, you lose sleep the night before, and you say to yourself real fast, 'Well, maybe I should keep working a couple more years. It's sobering.




We know Roger Ebert loved the 'Sun-Times' and his career as a newspaper columnist. But ironically, it was his illness and losing his voice that caused him to explore another venue.




In L.A., everyone is competing for the next job, and in New York, it's pretty much the same thing: competing for a better job.




I'd like 'Morning News' to become a great first edition electronic newspaper, so that the 'New York Times' will want to watch us.




You need a very good financial person to keep you honest, and to keep track of income and outgo.




People from small towns have to have their edges roughed up to get along in the world. But as a street reporter, you learn quickly.




I think there's value in experience and observations that link past to present.




If you're a producer, you always spend too much money because you want that shot - and you're willing to spend a bundle to get it.



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