MISSOULA - The Mansfield Center is hosting a conversation with long-time newsman Sam Donaldson via Zoom on Tuesday.
The discussion with the longtime correspondent and anchor for ABC News will be moderated by journalist Gwen Florio and Newsy National Correspondent Maritsa Georgiou. MTN’s Mike Powers talked with Georgiou about the upcoming event.
POWERS: “I want to hear how this all came together.”
GEORGIOU: “I'm on the board of the Mike Mansfield Center. It was founded by an Act of Congress in 1983 with a dual mission of fostering ethics, integrity, democracy but to also foster international engagement. We felt there would be no one better than Sam Donaldson to do that. Sam Donaldson happened to be a very good friend of my grandfather, who was in the broadcasting world for a long time. His first station was actually in Missoula back a long time ago. He worked in DC right along with Sam, they became good friends, did a documentary together. I reached out and pulled a favor in, ‘could you please do this?’ Because we really need to talk about journalism in a democracy and who better to do that than Sam Donaldson who literally worked in Washington covering politics and foreign policy in D.C. for 52 years.”
POWERS: “He covered the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, Watergate, all of the major events, it goes on and on. How do you narrow down your questions here?”
GEORGIOU: “Gwen Florio and I are asking the questions. We researched and agonized over what to ask him because this is one of the most legendary news people of all time, known for asking really smart questions, really tough questions. We have so many we want to cover but we're open. That comes from our perspective. If anyone else has questions they want to ask him, you can do that in this Zoom. You can type them in the chat and if we have time for viewer questions, we'll get to them.”
POWERS: “He's been around forever, but it's so timely too because I look at that era he covered, it's a long span, the late '60s, and early '70s I compare it to now because of all the turmoil. I think he'll have great perspective on that.”
GEORGIOU: “I have talked to him over the years about that. Every time you talk to Sam Donaldson he has some amazing stories. It always involves a massive world event that we remember from the history books that he was front and center for. We're going to talk about that, we're going to ask him about what's going on in Ukraine right now with the Russian invasion. And the importance of journalism, on stage right now. The Russian people don't have a free and fair press. When I ask him, he has a few stories about Mike Mansfield and we're hoping he'll share that with the crowd tonight.
POWERS: “We should say Sam was kind of an agitator. He went after people. Some presidents and political people didn't think a lot of Sam at times. That's part of his story as well.”
GEORGIOU: “Right. And we're going to ask him about his style. How that came to be and if he would continue with that in today's world. I think you would see that a lot more now than we did back then and he really stood out. He really paved the way in a lot of things.”
The event begins at 7 p.m. and people should register for the Zoom link here. People who would like to submit questions beforehand, or in the chat.