From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman

What would it be like to be a man who worked in the journalism field for about five decades?

Rex Smith and Harry Rosenfeld

Rex Smith and Harry Rosenfeld

Harry Rosenfeld, a former Metro Editor for The Washington Post, is an iconic figure in American journalism. He visited The College of Saint Rose on Sep. 30 to speak about his life and career as a newspaperman.

It was a full house at The College of Saint Rose’s Carl E. Touhey Forum in the Thelma P. Lally School of Education. The forum was meaningful to his previous coworkers who have walked the journey with him. Times Union Editor Rex Smith led the conversation with Rosenfeld.  

Rosenfeld's Book in display at the forum

Rosenfeld’s Book in display at the forum

In the middle of Smith and Rosenfeld, Rosenfel’s “From Kristallnacht to Watergate” was displayed. It seemed like his charisma hadn’t deceased a bit since his prime time as a journalist. 

Times Union Reporter Leigh Hornbeck told me that Rosenfled was sitting at her job interview at the Times Union.

“I haven’t had any interactions with Harry since the day of my job interview, but I always regarded him from afar as we all do here – a legend in the field,” said Hornbeck. “As a reporter, hearing from a primary source, someone who was there as history was made, was thrilling.”

Rosenfeld is a legendary figure in the field. He surely has been through dramatic events in his life: from escaping Nazi Germany to revealing the scandalous event in the history of the U.S. presidency.

Full house

Full house at The College of Saint Rose’s Carl E. Touhey Forum

A great journalist didn’t just born the way he is now. He started somewhere too. According to Rosenfeld, he started to write for newspaper when he was in 8th grade and he continued.

What I learned about him through the forum was he is a strong man who does not give up. He firmly believes and values the role of journalism in democracy.

During the Q&A session, one of my classmates Murielle Henriquez asked Rosenfled about the future of journalism.

Harry Rosenfeld and a few of the students from the course, Mallory Collier, Arielle Ahr, Rosenfeld, Casey Cho, Murielle Henriquez and Dan Clark, and the instructor Michael Huber

Harry Rosenfeld and a few of the students from the course, Mallory Collier, Arielle Ahr, Rosenfeld, Casey Cho, Murielle Henriquez and Dan Clark, and the instructor Michael Huber

“Good question, I don’t know what it would be but I can tell you what I hope would be,” replied Rosenfeld.

Rosenfled said journalism is “the central ingredient of American democracy.” Also he added, “Truth is almost like a religious concept, try to get as much truth as you can.”

Rosenfeld is currently a editor-in-large and consultant to the Times Union. I often see him passing by from my desk. In the future, I will take courage to say hello.

Do you want to know about how it’s like to work for a great journalist? Read the Times Union’s Interactive Audience Manager and my professor for Digital Publication class Michael Huber’s post Working for Harry Rosenfeld.

If you have missed out on the forum, check out one of my classmates Dan Clark‘s entire event in sound (Thanks Dan!):

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