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Norah O’Donnell Quotes

Norah Morahan

Norah O’Donnell quotes: the journalist’s juiciest quotes.

“One of my mottos in life is, ‘Tee it high and let it fly.'”

“You don’t have to be good at everything. Know what you’re good at and execute on that.”

“Persistence is incredibly important. Persistence proves to the person you’re trying to reach that you’re passionate about something, that you really want something.”

Oprah once told me: ‘You will not rise without challenge. You will have the last word, and this job is your supreme destiny.’ She reminded me about the importance and power of perspective. The truth is whenever someone is in a position of power, male or female, that person will have critics, but it’s not the critic who counts. It’s the person in the arena. But that was a new experience for me, and I know now that it’s okay to acknowledge that that exists, but also you can’t allow it to distract from your own record and reputation.”

“You face challenges in your personal life and in your professional life. I continue to be relentlessly optimistic and not focus on the negative.”

“There are still great challenges out there.”

“Surround yourself with a support team and people who know who you are and care about you. For me, one of the great lessons is you really can’t do any of these hard jobs alone.”

“One of the most common mistakes for an entry-level job interview is to take the position: ‘What is this job going to do for me?’ You should be saying, ‘Here’s what I can do and here’s what I want to do to help you.'”

“I have always said yes to opportunities and experiences.”

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I was going to be the anchor of the CBS Evening News. And at the same time as our first female president of CBS News? You know, never, ever. But we are in the midst of this transformative time. I’ve been talking for a while about the 21st century being a century of women. And over the years, it was really a sense of optimism and hope that led me to say that.”

“I feel like I’m at the center of this moment, this change. It’s an incredible time, and I think we’ve been waiting for that. I said it 18 months ago and I still feel it: women cannot achieve equality in the workplace until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility. I really do feel hopeful that we are getting closer to that and to getting to that dream of equality.”

“That became my first job, essentially anchoring an English-learning program once a week on Korean television. I got a small paycheck every week, and I’d go get Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie tapes. That was the beginning. I’ll never forget it.”

“It was my first job, and I grew up in a military family. We were four kids, and my parents didn’t give me money to go buy whatever I wanted. If I wanted something, I had to have a job. So work was important to me because it gave me independence. From age 10 on, I’ve had a job.”

“I really believe strongly that the mission of the news is to provide guests context. I also think that news is an important public service. We need an informed electorate. Journalism has a large role in helping to create an informed electorate. Walter Cronkite: ‘Journalism is what we need to make democracy work,’ not just to sustain elections or civil discourse, but to ensure basic public health.”

“There’s a thirst for information because there’s so much going on in the world.”

“Not to be too whatever, but I was a philosophy major in college, and Aristotle talked about the importance of reflection. In addition to my job as lead anchor, I’m also the managing editor of my show, so I still write scripts. But that writing is about word choice and timing and communicating a lot of information in a short period of time. The journaling is different. That’s how I’m able to be contemplative about this, because it’s really, really hard.”

“That’s probably what led me into journalism, is that I believe information is power and the truth is powerful.”

“I think the hallmark of great journalism is listening. But certainly, in the past decade, what I’ve realized is the power of my own voice and the power to choose the type of stories that we do and the power to use my voice to seek the truth, to hold powerful people accountable.”

“With each person I see, I’ve tried to take that extra moment to ask them how they’re doing and to understand that when people show up on a conference call or show up at work, there’s a silent struggle that people are having.”

“Any good journalist knows the best way to cover stories is to get as close to it as you can—immerse yourself.”

“Covering the Coronavirus is unlike any story I’ve ever covered. I’ve covered six presidential elections; I’ve covered the wars we’ve been engaged in since 9/11, including 9/11. Covering the Coronavirus is different because there is no known end date. This is unprecedented and new, and Americans are vulnerable and scared. We’re going to learn a couple lessons from this pandemic. Quite simply, the value of washing your hands. We’re also learning the importance of our own physical health and the value of our health care providers.”

“At the heart of being a great journalist is being someone who is deeply curious. I’m not only deeply curious about people; I’m deeply curious about history, about how the government works, about medicine and health. I’m deeply curious about Silicon Valley and technological innovations. I’m curious about our military and people who join the military and have the courage to go overseas without their families and fight wars. And I love having a front row seat to history every day. Every experience is an incredible one.”

“I’ve never been more proud in my life to be a journalist. I believe that we play an incredibly vital role in holding public officials accountable. I think the job is so incredibly important. Our founders made freedom of the press the first amendment, not the 11th amendment.”

“I’ve spent my whole life around a family that talks about health. The older we get, the more we realize what an incredible gift our health is and how we must protect it.”

“Growing up, my parents were healthy eaters and starting to run and compete when I was 13, I knew the need to focus on what you need to eat. I remember going to grocery store myself and picking up fresh fruit and knowing early on the right foods to fuel my body.”

“Exercise is the key to my happiness. My goal is to get some form of exercise every day. Let’s be thankful for the ability to move and use our bodies. Such a simple thing to say. And yes, I am thankful.”

“I really enjoy making sure the kids get a healthy dinner, a good bath and several books. I really like to try and end the day with some quality time with my kids. If not, I feel guilty.”

“I don’t love the phrase ‘balancing work and family.’ It sets up this idea of scales of justice with work on one side and family on the other side.”

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