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Monday, April 09, 2012

My Message From Mike Wallace

When Mike Wallace left a message on my answering machine a decade ago, my dozing roommate thought it was all just part of a dream.

This was college, and we had one of those setups that broadcast phone messages as they recorded them. To my roommate, who had been passed out on the couch for hours, surely this was a dream.

Why else on a random weekday morning would the iconic CBS newsman's voice -- heard almost every Sunday on "60 Minutes" -- be ricocheting inside an apartment rented by three college kids he wasn't investigating?

But it was no dream, and the answer to me is now clear: Mike Wallace, decades into his career, wanted to inspire others to join his profession. And he was willing to reach out -- to cubs like me -- to help them get started.

Here’s the story behind that voice message, and what followed. It encapsulates what I’m sure is a minor series of moments in the famous newsman’s life. But now that he is gone, it does illustrate part of his legacy: the many young journalists who aspire to his stature. I count myself among them.


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