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Diane Sawyer Talks Amanpour, Fox, and the Pope at Press Club

While her competitors Katie Couric and Brian Williams were chatting with late night hosts David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon respectively, ABC’s “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer sat down with veteran CBS journalist Marvin Kalb at the National Press Club to close the Kalb Report’s 17th season.

The program, “Diane Sawyer: A Life in News,” kicked off the International Women in Media Foundation’s week-long gathering.

What we learned:

  • Sawyer credits the the more conversational tone of “World News” not with any personal style of reporting, but rather with her lack of a strong speaking voice. “I always wish I had one of those,” she said.
  • Asked why she went to report from Japan (seems like a rather obvious question), Sawyer told Kalb it “was a story I had to experience tangibly.”
  • Sawyer doesn’t check the ratings for “World News.” She said: “I know you won’t believe this, but I don’t check them…I’d rather not. I simply don’t want to be held hostage.”
  • She has a lot of respect for Christiane Amanpour. Kalb asked her why she didn’t join Amanpour and other journalists in Egypt to report on location about the revolution. “I wanted to go there,” she said, “but I thought, ‘It’s Christianne Amanpour!’”
  • Of her early days at ABC co-anchoring with Sam Donaldson, Sawyer said: “We were actually a skit on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ we were so bad.” Kalb insisted she wasn’t that bad, to which Sawyer responded: “Then why did you call me and tell me to fix it?” (Kalb and Sawyer were colleagues at the beginning of her career.)

Find out what Kalb and Sawyer had to say about Fox News, Sawyer’s dream interview and the worst part of her day after the jump.

  • Marvin Kalb hates (okay hates is strong, he just doesn’t like opinion mixed with news and he uses Fox News as an example) but Sawyer did not. “I watch Fox News…I think you can learn so much from the excitement of the people on Fox.” Kalb went on his usual diatribe about opinion journalism, to which Sawyer replied: “I think people can make their minds up. Don’t you think people know when they’re getting opinion?”
  • She “at least scans” six newspapers every day, and she reads the Daily Beast, HuffPost, and the Drudge Report. Before bed, she reads NYT, WaPo, and LAT. But she says she also learns a lot from debates in the newsroom between Jake Tapper and Terry Moran.
  • If she could interview one person: “I think the Pope.”
  • The worst part of her day: Hair and makeup.

The conversation was broadcast on C-SPAN, and video is posted here.

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