Tom Brokaw Returns To USD For Presentation

Brokaw: "It's very moving coming back to this University"

VERMILLION, S.D. – A University of South Dakota legend returned to Vermillion Wednesday night. The Yankton native with experience reporting on the Watergate scandal, and who’s interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a presentation to an excited crowd.

Welcomed with a standing ovation, Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw spoke at his Alma Mater.

“It’s not just gratifying, but also moving to be back at this university,” he says.

Brokaw admits his start on campus was a bit rocky.

“I’m more sober right now than I was a lot of times at this university,” he laughs.

But Brokaw says this is where he learned that hard work leads to success.

“I wasted a couple of years here, but it was the best lesson of my life.”

Fast forward 20, 30 years and Brokaw would go on to win 7 Emmy awards for excellence in television. But even with everything he’s experienced, Brokaw says right now is the hardest time to do his job because of “fake news.”

“You can be a guy sitting in your underwear, who couldn’t get a date to prom and you’re going to get even with the world,” says Brokaw. “You can construct a very sophisticated looking site of some kind. It can be malicious and it can be directed at whoever you want to.”

Brokaw says the problem is media can’t catch up with all the misinformation out there.

“People say to me you’re not going to believe what I read on the internet, and I say you’re right,” says Brokaw. “I’m not going to believe what you read on the internet. The people out there are constantly re-inventing ways to sort of slip the news in, so to speak.”

So his advice for news consumers, “you have to treat what comes off the internet as news in the same way you have to treat someone who is trying to sell you an insurance policy or a used car,” says Brokaw.

Brokaw says the country needs to start applying common sense to news, instead of bias.

“If it fits your bias, you’re much more inclined to just embrace it, so it’s very hard for people to look at it a second time,” he says.

Alongside Brokaw, fellow USD alum Robert Legvold, who is one of the country’s leading experts on Russia, talked about America’s relationship with Russia.

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