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Ted Koppel to visit Luther

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News anchor and managing editor of ABC News Ted Koppel.

News anchor and managing editor of ABC News Ted Koppel.

Photo courtesy of cbsnews.com

Photo courtesy of cbsnews.com

News anchor and managing editor of ABC News Ted Koppel.

Gillian Klein, Staff Writer

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ABC News anchor and managing editor of “Nightline” Ted Koppel will visit Luther on May 1 to deliver the 2018 Roslien Distinguished Lecture titled “Science and Policy: Communication in the Twenty-First-Century World of Fake News.”

Political Science Professor Emeritus John Moeller, who is familiar with Koppel’s work in broadcasting, expressed the unique method Koppel had in reporting.

“There was always a seriousness about [Koppel],” Moeller said. “There was high regard for the integrity of him doing what, say, the Today Show does, but at night and more seriously.”

The Roslien Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by Board of Regents member Michael Osterholm (‘75). Osterholm founded the lecture series in honor of Emeritus Professor of Biology and administrator David J. Roselin. Osterholm’s work as epidemiologist, professor at the University of Minnesota, researcher at the Centers for Disease Control, and advisee for several U.S. presidents provided him the opportunity to connect with people like Koppel. Their friendship was one reason why Koppel accepted the invitation to speak at Luther.

The focus of the lecture will discuss the issue of science information, public policy, and “fake news.” Koppel intends to discuss these issues as “communication black holes.”

Koppel’s reflection on his journalistic practice and the practices of today are one of many reasons why Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Public Engagement Victoria Christman wanted Koppel to give his lecture.

“He could tell any news story and we would be interested in what he has to say,” Christman said. “He’s covered everything in the last 50 years historical and newsworthy. What he’s doing is raising our awareness about public policy and how we tie journalism to that, because it has changed.”

Koppel’s 50 years of reporting began with his first public broadcast on WMCA’s 570 AM “The Mission” radio station in New York City. Soon after, Koppel joined ABC News as one of the youngest news reporters to work for a major broadcast network.

Between the years of 1963 and 1967, Koppel worked his way up the ranks of ABC News.In a 2018 interview conducted by “The Stanford Daily,” Koppel commented on what his role, and every journalist’s role is, in information broadcasting.

“[Journalists should] take a complex issue and reduce it to a fairly simple level so that it can be understood by a great many people without in any way distorting the reality of the story,” Koppel said. “That’s a good journalist.”

The Vietnam War coverage is what sparked Koppel’s interest in television reporting. Soon, Koppel had become the chief diplomatic correspondent in 1971 and presenter of the Saturday Night News in 1975.

General Manager of KWLC David Grouws believes Koppel’s career took off so quickly because of his reporting style.

“He introduced the style of reporting where you have different people exchanging views from all over the globe screening into the broadcast . . . it was pure innovation.” Grouws said.

Koppel’s breakout moment was in 1979. A diplomatic standoff between Iran and the United States resulted in 52 American diplomats and citizens being held hostage for 444 days between November 1979 and December 1981. ABC News began extensive coverage on the Iranian hostage crisis and Koppel was assigned to the job.

Koppel’s coverage ran on his late-night news show, American Held Hostage, and became “Nightline” in 1980.

“Nightline” is how many Luther students know Koppel. Lily Zarecky (‘20) is interested in Koppel’s coverage, specifically its uniqueness among journalists nowadays.

“Perspective on news and media coverage always changes,” Zarecky stated. “Learning about journalism is important from any journalist, but hearing from Koppel specifically educates the audience about the shifts in journalist reporting that have occured.”

The Center for Faith and Life will host Ted Koppel’s lecture on May 1 at 7 p.m.

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