US broadcasting legend Larry King was in Slovakia on Thursday, September 22, at the invitation of a local TV station. During his visit he set out what he sees as the role of a journalist: to every day bring the kind of information that helps people know more than they did the day before.
King, 77, said that Nelson Mandela, seven American presidents, political leaders and people who are helping others have been among the most memorable guests he has interviewed during his 53-year broadcasting career.
On this occasion he was the interviewee and Jan Kraus, who hosts a Czech talk show, was doing the interviewing. They were both invited as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Slovak TV news channel TA3. When asked if he recalled any Slovak guests who had appeared on his talk show, King, whose parents came from Austria, mentioned the former president of Czechoslovakia Václav Havel and legendary Czech hockey player Jaromír Jágr, adding that it is impossible to remember all of his 50,000 guests. In fact, neither Havel nor Jágr are Slovak. King did once interview Slovakia's then prime minister Mikuláš Dzurinda.
Turning to the future of the public-service media, King thinks that its existence is necessary because it fulfils a specific public role. However, it should always maintain objectivity and present various standpoints, he added. When reacting to a statement that most Slovak journalists are young, he said that this was not bad, but added what was bad was that many considered journalism only a half-way house from which they could get to another career, e.g. in politics. King became famous primarily because of his eponymous talk show on the global TV news network CNN. His first show aired in 1985 and the last of more than 6,000 programmes appeared on screens 25 years later.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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