The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Monday, April 9, 2012 - 5A
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, April 9, 2012 - 5A
From Page 1A
Wallace began the "ambush"
interview, in which he present-
ed his subjects with otherwise
unknown evidence of wrongful
acts theyhad committed. Wallace
later admitted that such tactics
were more to create attractive
TV rather than good journalism.
Wallace was the subject of
several libel suits, which endan-
gered his career and reportedly
caused him much stress, even-
tually driving him into clinical
Wallace earned 21 Emmy
Awards, five DuPont-Columbia
journalism awards, five Pea-
body awards and the Paul White
Award, the most prestigious
award given by the Radio and
Television News Directors Asso-
ciation. He also won the Robert
F. Kennedy Journalism Award
grand prize and television first
prize in 1996, and was inducted
into the Television Academy
Hall of Fame in June 1991.
Yesterday morning, Jeff Fager,
chairman of CBS News and exec-
utive producer of "60 Minutes,"
said in a statement that Wallace
was critical to the formation of
"There simply hasn't been
another broadcast journalist
with that much talent," Fager
said. "It almost didn't matter
what stories he was covering,
you just wanted to hear what he
would ask next. Around CBS he
was the same infectious, funny
and ferocious person as he was
on TV. We loved him and we will
miss him very much."
CBS News producer Don
Hewitt picked Wallace for the
program in 1968 because of his
"hard-charging" style, according
to the release.
"Wallace was as famous as the
leaders, newsmakers and celeb-
rities who suffered his blistering
interrogations, winning awards
and a reputation for digging
out the hidden truth on Sunday
nights in front of an audience
that approached 40 million at
broadcast television's peak," the
Harry Reasoner, Wallace's
original partner on "60 Minutes"
who died in 1991, said Wallace's
interviewing abilities were one-
"There is one thing that Mike
can do better than anybody else:
With an angelic smile, he can ask
a question that would get anyone
else smashed in the face," Rea-
soner said before his death.
During Wallace's time on "60
Minutes," the show spent 23 sea-
sons on the Nielsen top 10 list,
including five seasons as the
number one rated program.
A front-page article in the
April 7, 1938 edition of The
Michigan Daily announced that
CBS hired Wallace to join its
radio broadcast team. According
to the news brief, Wallace's "cul-
tured tones" and tasteful use of
emotion in his stories helped him
beat out his peers in his broad-
casting classes for the coveted
job. The Daily cited a telegram
from Wallace to his parents
announcing his appointment.
"Announcing Columbia net-
work Thursday 4:15. Whee!,"
Wallace wrote in the telegram.
"No radio station WHEE in
Boston. Please explain," his par-
ents wrote back.
Wallace also spoke at the Uni-
versity's 1987 Spring Commence-
ment, delivering an address to
graduates on racism and intoler-
"Here on this university island
in which you've lived these last
few years, you are about as sensi-
tive, as pure probably, as you will
ever be in all your lives," Wal-
lace said. "Your minds are open,
you've been stretching them,
learning more about yourselves
and others, other societies, other
struggles, other notions of ful-
fillment, other ideas."
Wallace's speech came despite
protests over a remark he made
in 1981 while conducting an on-
air interview regarding faulty
housing contracts that were
signed by Black and Hispanic
"You bet your ass they're hard
to read if you're reading from
over watermelons and tacos,"
Wallace said in the interview.
At the 1987 commencement, a
group of graduates turned their
back to Wallace wearing signs
on their robes that said "Anti-
Wallace addressed the risque
remark in his commencement
"(Bigotry is) an easy out. It can
be downright comforting to feel
bigger, better, than the next fel-
low," Wallace said. "Your sense
of injustice will flag."
Wallace additionally angered
some students when he made
another racially insensitive com-
ment during the speech.
"It never occurred to me back
in college that one day I would
be listening to Polish jokes, or
Jewish jokes, or Italian jokes, or
Black jokes, and laughing," Wal-
In an interview with The
Michigan Daily, Wallace's
youngest grandson, Lowell
Bourgeois, an LSA senior and
Wallace's fourth grandchild to
study at the University, said his
grandfather joked that his first
grandchild to go to the Univer-
sity would receive a car.
"Obviously none of us got a
car," Bourgeois said. "But his
purpose from a very early age
was to instill us with this idea of
Michigan and Michigan pride."
Bourgeois said Wallace's
home is abundantly decorated
with Michigan memorabilia. He
reflected back to 2006, when
Wallace addressed a crowd at
halftime during a Michigan foot-
"He was always super aware
of what was going on at Michi-
gan," Wallace said.
Bourgeois said a shared con-
nection to the University allowed
for a very meaningful relation-
ship to his grandfather.
"It was a very nice way to be
able to connect with my grandfa-
ther," Bourgeois said.
Bourgeois added that his
grandfather may have been
inspired to donate to the Knight-
Wallace program because he
often argued that undergradu-
ates should major in subject
areas outside of journalism, in
order to study what they're pas-
sionate about and later translate
that passion through journalism.
He said the fellowship program
allows journalists to hone their
skills later in life.
Bourgeois said Wallace told
him he gained his love for radio
and journalism from working at
The Michigan Daily and the Uni-
versity's radio station.
"I think that his experience
with journalism and his role in
the media comes from exploring
his interests here on campus,"
Though Wallace married four
times, Bourgeois said he loved all
of his grandchildren equally.
"There was never a shortage
of love he gave to us, and he has
a very constant presence in all of
our lives," Bourgeois said. "He
has seven grandchildren, and all
of us have extremely personal,
close connections with him."
Wallace's stepson, Angus
Yates, said in an interview with
the Daily that the University
held a special place in Wallace's
"He never forgot the place,
worked his whole life at improv-
ing Michigan and helping Michi-
gan," Yates said. "It was a very,
very important part of Mike's
He added: "I think a lot of
what happened later in his
career came together or began at
Michigan. And that stayed with
him and became a very impor-
tant part of his persona and his
life, and he, I know, wanted to
make sure that other kids com-
ing through Michigan had the
same chances that he did, so he
and his wife Mary Wallace spent
a lot of time making sure that
Michigan offered opportunities
that were important to Mike."
Though Yates adored his step-
father, he acknowledged that
Wallace knew how to get under
the skin of his interviewees.
"He was a gifted genius, a very
sweet man but you could never
let your guard down," Yates said.
"He knew how to find your jug-
ular, and he knew how to ... he
knew how to get inside your soul.
But he was a lovely man, and a
University President Mary
Sue Coleman said in a state-
ment that while Wallace may
be remembered nationwide as a
journalist, he meant much more
to the University than his profes-
"Society will remember Mike
Wallace as a dedicated, hard-
charging journalist," Coleman
said. "At the University of Michi-
gan, we know him as that and so
much more. He was extremely
generous with his time, his
papers, his financial support,
and, most important, his belief
in this University and its role in
today's world. We could not have
asked for a more enthusiastic and
loyal alumnus, one whose words
and actions changed both the
University of Michigan and the
LSA freshman Justin Gold-
man - president of the Univer-
sity's chapter of Zeta Beta Tau,
the fraternity to which Wallace
held membership in during his
time at the University - said the
chapter is thankful for his legacy
as a brother of ZBT.
"We send our condolences to
Mr. Wallace's friends and fam-
ily," Goldman said. "It's ZBT
Michigan's 100-year anniversary
in September, we want to thank
him as a beneficial, benevolent
alumni and appreciate every-
thing he's done for ZBT in the
Wallace issurvivedbyhis wife,
Mary Wallace, his son, Chris,
host of "Fox News Sunday," his
stepdaughter, Pauline Dora,
two stepsons, Eames and Angus
Yates, seven grandchildren and
four great grandchildren.
-The Associated Press and
Daily News Editor Paige Pearcy
contributed to this report.
From Page 1A
enduring contribution to the
University will be the key role
he played in helping develop the
Michigan Journalism Fellows
- the predecessor to the Knight-
Wallace Fellow programs.
"His defining legacy is a per-
manent, fully-endowed program
at the University of Michigan to
help: joirnalists in their career
to become even better than they
could otherwise through a year of
sabbatical study," Eisendrath said.
Though Wallace - a former
Michigan Daily reporter and
broadcaster at the University's
radio station - donated signifi-
cantly to the program, Eisendrath
said his support transcended mon-
etary donations, noting that Wal-
lace visited the fellows several
times a year to provide guidance
during their time at the University.
"When anybody was in New
York and wanted to talk jour-
nalism with him, or just simply
wanted to talk to him, he, without
exception, would open the office
and (tell them to) come on up,"
Eisendrath said one regret Wal-
lace carried during his life was
becoming disconnected from the
University after his graduation
in 1939. He later used the Knight-
Wallace fellowship and other Uni-
versity partnerships to rejoin the
"Before the fellowships, he
hadn't had much to do with
Michigan, and he regretted that."
Eisendrath said. "He used these
programs as a way of getting back
in touch with the University, and
ended up co-chairing an endow-
ment drive which at the time was
the biggest in the history of public
universities in America ... at $1.3
Knight-Wallace fellow Evan
Halper, the Sacramento bureau
chief for The Los Angeles Times,
said Wallace is an inspiration for
the journalists who study in the
house he donated to campus. All
fellows have 24-hour access to
the building, which has an audio-
visual system, library, computer
lab with Wi-Fi, kitchen and dining
"He was an amazingly inspi-
rational figure in terms of jour-
nalism," Halper said. "He was a
trendsetter, he sort of was some-
thing for the rest of all to aspire
Halper said Wallace's jour-
nalistic legacy is unsurpassed by
"If you look at some of the sto-
ries he did in his lifetime, they're
just ... they're just phenomenal,"
Halper said. "It's intimidating to
look back at his body of work."
Halper added that Wallace's
spirit is still very much alive in the
"The house and this program
embodies his values," Halper said.
"Several of us aspire to be the jour-
nalist he was, and we're grateful
for everything he did for the pro-
gram. He was a true friend and a
benefactor for this program."
Fellow Sarah Robbins, a BBC
America producer, said the house
not only allows reporters to gain
useful skills, but also provides
beneficial relationships with other
"The fellowship is also about
building relationships with other
journalists and using the strength
and the time that we have to step
back from the daily grind of news-
rooms this year to rebuild and
refresh and try to go out and con-
tinue the important work of jour-
nalism in the future."
The program brings many for-
eign journalists to Ann Arbor as
well, including fellow Alencar
Izidoro from Brazil who said Wal-
lace helped form a one-of-a-kind
experience for him in Michigan.
"I don't know any other fel-
lowship likes this," Izidoro said.
"I have never heard of any other
fellowship that can spend a lot of
time just studying, just reflecting
about your career."
Izidoro's wife, Marcela Gui-
maraes, a radio journalist, said
Wallace stands as a model of
journalistic integrity to reporters
across the world, including Brazil.
"It's so important for us to be
here and enjoy this and remember ,
him," Guimaraes said. - k
Fellow Vanessa M. Gezari, a
reporter with The Washington
Post, said Wallace's presence is felt
by all who step foot in the house.
"Whenyou walk into the house,
there's a big photograph of Mike
Wallace and his wife on the wall
so we see him everyday when we
come in, and his spirit and sort of
the kind of journalism he repre-
sented is very much there," Gezari
Gezari said the program offers a
chance for journalists from around
the world to take a break from their
daily jobs and hone their craft.
"It is one of the most amazing
opportunities available to Ameri-
can journalists, period," Gezari
Gezari said Wallace's ability
to ask tough questions should be
a lasting model to future journal-
"He came from an era when I
think for American journalism
that-kind of approach was quite
new still," Gezari said. "I think
he really, in a way pioneered that
challenging approach, and I think
that we all are the inheritors of
that. I have to do that in my job,
and so does any journalist who
wantsto get more than just a press
-Daily Staff Reporters
Peter Shahin and Steve Zoski
contributed to this report
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