Tom Brokaw

Who Mentored Tom Brokaw?

Interview  Watch the video Tom Brokaw.

Tom Brokaw is the former anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News. He began his career in journalism after graduating from the University of South Dakota in 1962, and has been affiliated with NBC News for 30 years.

I never forgot Frances Morrow; she was emblematic of what I think every schoolteacher should be. She spotted me early on and encouraged me to read above my grade level and to be imaginative in class, but at the same time she paid attention to the others that were around me and I was keenly aware of that–that she didn’t just spoil me. But I knew that I had her eye, and it gave me confidence. I went back many, many years later to take her to lunch and thank her for that time, and it was as if we’d never left each other’s side.

My parents were critically important to me. They both grew up in a working class environment during the Great Depression. They believed that the greatest rewards for work well done was in a job well done. They had a kind of inherent modesty about them. Not all of that took–after all, I’m now a television anchorman–but it always kept the public acclaim that I received when I was in high school for achievements, at one time or another, in the appropriate context.


This is a big, fast-paced world in which we live. Too many kids fall through the cracks. Families have broken up now, and those that haven’t broken up, parents have other priorities often. Both parents are working, and they get home at different hours. We don’t have that “supper hour” as we used to call it in my household, where everybody gathered around the table at the same time, talked about the day, got in arguments, watched the evening news. But we had that family time in which we worked it all out. So I do think it’s important for kids to have some place, someone to turn to.


I don’t think there’s any richer reward in life than helping someone. You can’t measure it in money or fame or anything else. But if we’re not put here for anything else but to help each other get through life, I think that’s a very honorable existence.