May 3, 2011

I went to a lunch today I’d like to tell you about — a celebration of the induction of Oprah Winfrey into the Illinois Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

For me, it was not about Oprah’s résumé — the ratings, the studio that helped revitalize nearby West Randolph Street, the jobs and talent she’s created; the school in South Africa, the movie, “The Color Purple” and her Oscar nomination, her books and her magazine, and her own television network.

Over fancy food in the Palmer House, I was thinking not about Oprah’s fame and fortune, but a standard she has set for our profession; her way of doing what we do more than anything else — television news interviews — cops on the streets; parents of children killed in gunfire.

Oprah does best what we do. She listens and she hears, and feels. Her performance is not as important to her as the substance of a quesdtion and the answer she gets.

Cheers to you, Oprah Winfrey, in the Hall of Fame. You’ve earned it.

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