Network Journalist to Receive Prestigious CSU Alumnus Award
Journalism | May 13, 2010
This year’s College of Liberal Arts Honor Alumnus is journalist Lee Kamlet, head writer for ABC World News with Charles Gibson. Kamlet is a 1974 graduate of CSU.
Although Kamlet was a political science major, he completed additional coursework in both Journalism and Speech Communication. This combination of interests led to a first job covering Wyoming state government at KYCU-TV in Cheyenne. Kamlet subsequently worked for a Casper, Wyoming TV station, then moved to Washington, D.C., working for Harriscope Broadcasting, CNN, NBC News’ Dateline program and ABC News in a variety of roles.
In his present position, Kamlet is involved with the world’s most important news on a daily basis. As head writer, he plays a critical role in crafting the editorial and graphical elements of ABC’s nightly network newscast. Kamlet works from the newsroom–utilizing his considerable experience to serve as a final gatekeeper to determine the most important news of the day. But it hasn’t always been that way.
“In an odd way, I have seen journalism come full-circle. When I first started out, I was a one-man band, Kamlet says. “I shot my own film, and later learned to shoot and edit videotape. When I joined CNN, it took me awhile to learn that I didn’t have to do it all. But now, a journalist has to do it all. Even top tier correspondents are learning how to shoot and edit video, a sure sign that those are ‘must have’ skills for the future. Without question, the most important quality is versatility. Newspapers and the networks are all trying to do more with less, and that will continue even after this current recession ends.”
Even though it’s been 35 years since he graduated from CSU, Kamlet still remembers that he always intended to be a broadcast journalist. He clearly recalls the day he walked into a studio in the Eddy Building for a course taught by former Speech Communication Professor Robert “Dr. Mac.” MacLaughlin.
“The equipment was rudimentary, even by the standards of the day, Kamlet notes. “There were two one-tube black and white cameras, a reel-to-reel tape recorder in a tiny audio booth, a control room that had a four-button switcher, and a one-inch reel-to-reel video tape recorder that took 10 seconds to get to speed. That’s it, and yet, I remember the first moment I walked into that room. For me, it was pure magic. In that one moment, I understood that I had found the medium that would allow me to express myself in a way that nothing else had. It validated my career choice.”
With the first studio visit serving to validate his choice for a career, the College of Liberal Arts Honor Alumnus Award is the latest of many awards helping to validate Kamlet’s entire career. The award is designated for graduates whose distinguished careers and service to the university, state, nation, or world bring honor to Colorado State University and to the recipient. Kamlet will accept his award and speak to approximately 400 JTC students in the department’s JTC 100 courses later this spring.
-Greg Luft, JTC Chair