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CBS host, journalist Jane Pauley looks forward to coming back to St. Louis

Jane Pauley

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, producer Alex Heuer spoke to journalist and author Jane Pauley about her journalism career, fake news and more.

Pauley hosts CBS’ "Sunday Morning." She began her network career in 1976 as co-host of "Today" on NBC, a tenure spanning 13 years. She also co-hosted "Dateline" and many other news programs.

Pauley will be in St. Louis as part of the St. Louis Speakers Series on Dec. 5.

What kinds of stories excite you the most?

I have always been interested in eliciting stories from people about lessons learned and lives lived and how to do it. And sometimes, in the course of an interview, I will find myself, as if I was some kind of therapist, helping someone recognize the pattern I hear them describe to me, and imagining that the audience, listener or viewer is relating to the story in some way that’s productive.

With the popular term “fake news,” where do you get your news from? How do you consume news?

I have three newspapers on my dining room table by my coffee cup, even as we speak. I try to read a variety of news sources so I am aware how any news organization reports what we call “the first draft of history.” We all tend to cherry-pick our news. We all do that. I have a great devotion to my colleagues in journalism, whatever stripes they come in. When we start undermining our confidence in news, the only way to get around that is to survey the news in many different varieties, and not just the cherry-picked place that is most comfortable to our particular point of view. You’ve got to use good judgment here, ladies and gentlemen — and me too.

What’s your reaction to what’s going on these days with the sexual harassment allegations and accusations coming to light?

I find it astonishing … that it’s almost unbelievable. I know that there are some who think it’s become out of control, but I’ve had conversations with some friends around my age, and everybody had some kind of story. Until this episode, I think we all kind of thought ‘well that was life’ and it wasn’t something you told people about. It’s a painful time but probably in the long run, a healthy time.

Why is St. Louis one your most memorable book tour stops?

It was where I learned that I shouldn’t take much pride in being called a ‘Hoosier.’ And once I learned about that, I couldn’t stop talking about it. I’m from Indiana, five generations on both sides.

And also because 800 people on a cold Saturday night came out to hear my author lecture. It was humbling, it was thrilling. I had a lot of experiences but St. Louis that night was absolutely memorable. And that’s what publishers tell me, ‘St. Louis sells books, they’re readers.’ And for my generation — great.

Listen below to hear  journalist Jane Pauley's full interview:


St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.