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WWL>Topics>>7-10 2pm Angela, Norman Robinson

7-10 2pm Angela, Norman Robinson

Jul 10, 2014|

Angela sits down with former WDSU anchor Norman Robinson for an "Open Book" segment

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

He's given decades of his life to television news and to a community he -- Norman Robinson did it right he's found what he loved and did beautifully. As a reporter and anchor -- channeling. Channel four and for the last 24 years channel six. He has been a voice to be listened to. When Norman retired from broadcasting at the end of the day New Orleans lost a professional. Who helped define the profession. He has covered not just the streets of New Orleans but the world. It is that view he takes with him in the next chapter of his life. One that we are all interested in knowing more about so lucky for us a whole hour with Norman Robinson. He has not gonna leave here without telling -- everything. But look at. That's been my history with UN and look. I mean there's no getting around it thank you very much I will take that is a great compliment you should. And you absolutely should -- salute bill I congratulate you on I call -- a life well lived which are continuing to. And the first question I'm going to ask you this woman I've been asked actually quite a lot. Do you miss television. No I do not -- television I feel like I've been there I've done that and when it was time to go was time to go on Mike Russell Baker. Leo former columnist for. The New York Times he said that when he was leaving the White House when he's getting ready to retire. And that was breaking story. Going on he never even looked back. That's when he knew he was ready to go. He was ready to turn the page on the next -- life you know however I I plan to retire sixty. But Hurricane Katrina came along and box both plans that sort of workable long order. In my portfolio and -- but I've always planned to get out bomb while I was still young enough. To enjoy my life. And and kind of see what else god -- out there. As a plan for me want to let life come to mean now. You know that that's a wonderful. Wonderful attitude -- go back to them about some things you're thinking about. But we did have a monumental story yesterday no question and a Ray Nagin sentenced. You're you're watching as a citizen. Kind of take me while. You know. As a broadcaster you have got to keep your feelings to yourself you thought stories them. But as a father. As they citizen and as a human being -- and and knowing what I know. About the man. Force captain for the sake of transparency I have to let you know but I was probably harder on him than any broadcaster. Because I held him responsible for what happened to those thousands of people who were last year. Room fighting for their lives because they didn't have any way to get out. Because I thought he PO waited too late to call for evacuations like I gave him grief about that. But I also happened over -- he had a nervous breakdown. During the storm. And I don't think he'll recover and portfolio that you really should run for reelection. Honestly I question why -- yet because I think I I I felt that he was up to the task -- that he was mentally. Psychologically fraud it. -- people say it's it's arrogance perhaps it is perhaps as ego we hate to let go perhaps week. Don't wanna walk away after being. Beaten or defeated. By challenged but as I watched it yesterday I felt sort form. Felt. I wasn't angry I was angry. After Katrina wasn't angry at -- anymore us arm has a very flawed character. And I somehow felt relieved that he only got ten years. I'd I'd I was thinking that if he got twenty years I don't know if you beef if he -- We would not have ended up committing suicide. I just I just. I just. Think in my heart of hearts as a human being watching in the early human beings suffer. I mean I know a lot of people angry at him for a lot of reasons and so was not. But a lot to him as a private citizen more on human being to another knowing what his family and his wife. Was going through our I kind of felt like a note in years long time. Legalistic about it I -- one day is a long time all right let me tell you ten minutes would be yet. Claustrophobic but. But he she continues to deny. I think that's that's the mental breakdown part of I don't think he's ever come to grips with what happened and what his responsibility was from the time the Katrina happened and all the way up. The current day and company's -- -- weather and and I'm watching him as someone who had those kind of of of of mental. Challenges. Were at some point you you have this. This this -- and an and then no one can condemn bad at all because it just was. The test for every the issue is don't run again. Exactly and and I was very surprised and I must say that Thursday as a citizen. I was very. Disappointed and upset that he did run again because I knew the mental strain that he was under. And I knew that there was no way that he was up to the task. People close to him told me he had a mental break ago. That he was -- in there and a carrying on and the person told me this was confident close compliment him. Of his. And that that they look and he was almost spastic on the sofa in the Hyatt regency. And they had to get him out there Mets at the the point he flew he was flown to Houston Texas. At times he was not a test and I was very upset that that he was running in a challenge that even when he was running against him it's slander. I was criticized in the paper for -- lambasting him but when I thought. That knowing when and what I knew. It was something that I had to do. But you know when you when you are our. Room how should just say. As -- yourself -- eagle testicle sometimes your ego gets the best view because I've often heard it said that the ego defies investigation. So he was. He was hell bent on running and of course people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were behind it and they made in the race thing it was not. -- -- -- -- It was about getting the job -- and being able to handle the task. Before -- he wasn't up to. But he got pulled into this racial. Vortex. That kind of wild and people all over the country we're trying to make a big deal a lot of -- there as a race it was suppan in the lowest level and was but kids. His history book. We'll have a very bad chapter and that's unfortunate yeah that's unfortunate for him and unfortunate for him and his family because he certainly did have a good beginning. Well I think it was on line and that was the painful part. Very much yesterday was you know he just came in on this wonderful ride of optimism and it's a new day and etc. and then to have faltered. Well you know Angela what we ultimately found out as it's like watching video was the laws. In you Williams pay no attention to that man behind the curtain from the man behind the curtain hostess. He had nothing had nothing but for the gizmo right and nothing both the -- But the rhetoric there was nobody home really. And it's it's unfortunate that. That happened to win but you know when you get in the kitchen. If you've got to be ready for the heat. Got to. And if nothing out you've got to surround yourself with people yeah what what can -- you want. You know we're gonna do we're gonna have to take a break but Norman -- here for the whole hour I'm looking forward to this so much. Have many questions for you. And allegedly had a myriad you have lots of -- all right stay with us everyone I'm Angela on WW -- -- days completely scheme. Now I know a special man. Brilliant career but especially. I wanna talk a little bit more about nudity things in the marketing -- your personal life and someone and everything. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I I don't ever you. And I first -- I'd say give me scoop and I'm not only play -- here which for them and -- field is very surreal experience you know united. Were regular WW awful long obviously and we get some very heady days -- Sweden. I think we kind of grew up in the business to go Leo he was the best place in the -- yeah absolutely we had that one of the best news. Crews. Phenomenal country yes at that -- and I still rose those days -- I don't feel like we grew we didn't. -- like we went to college together. The broadcast in congress. -- sad note but again part of so much of what our life is as has been as news reporters and we are not likely. But we look at the shootings number and street. And near again outraged as a citizen and yet something kicks in and you're the reporter. Saying what needs to be told I was so outraged. That. That it. And it is -- and I thought about the the crime picture as a whole. And the conservative side of Norman province kicked him I'm I'm a long hours. To be not a whole lot of flack for the position about it that the -- ought to be allowed to stop and frisk people. Eyes are still believe. -- a lot of people want justice to all the artists racial profiling you've forgotten about the sixties that. You figure out Jim Crow your figure about a -- tide and on -- public safety and and and and I'd. I just don't see this thing that's happening to us. As they were racial thing I see this thing that's happening to us as they meltdown -- total breakdown. Of the civilization. Mom mom -- -- -- society as a whole I think we're we're just out of control nobody trusts anybody. And so when you get to the point where you can't. At least have a modicum of trust in law enforcement what he got left the lawlessness. And meet the criminals know that. And that's what they prey on -- loop hole. I mean they hold everybody else hostage and their only a field him. But they hold everybody else hostage because we are afraid that we're going to violate somebody's rights are totally. I still I'll take the -- until the at a time I still say that stop and frisk. Ought to be policy. Everywhere that there's violence. Let me -- I'm gonna quote you. On our next hour is going to be DNA cancer will do that and we're going to be talking about other things to try to get this madness and so yes. This happened yeah. Edit it and you know and it and I think there has to be some kind of bomb. Reconciliation. With the with the police themselves. -- not -- my daughter in law enforcement and I know they feel beaten down. Because -- because of a few bad examples. That whole entire law enforcement. Society. Our culture in this town has been painted with that Brooks has been tarnished with a purpose of this though that their all the cops are bad all of them corrupt. -- all of them a mad killers. Looking to pull some. Helpless person aside. And a beat them to a pulp and I just think that's that's very cynical. I'm very. Fetus. That because the real issue is we just don't have enough we don't we don't have enough and -- losing him for many different reasons and many of them wrong. But that's another culture. But again the issue of the the shooting -- you're absolutely correct we have gone -- In this country and it's the tail wag the dog. Example we gonna have to Britney we are not yourself. Before long enough norm and I can sit here we could solve it for a -- as if they were listened to me yes OK how are calling for. Your little boy are you thinking I wanna be broadcaster. I'm a little boy I'm thing I wanna be a band director. Of high school band director that was always my big dream. And let me tell you with a dream. Got derailed. When I was a member of the United States Marine Corps base and I was taking a lot of music courses music classes. Room. I had all these music professors at the US -- school music. And they were writing music they were conducting it and all the classes. And I discovered that I was good musician. But not a great musicians. And I found out that I it was a better broadcast. I discovered I -- what are my friend to play trumpet. That told me stories about musicians. In Las Vegas. And in Hollywood looking for jobs and could find one. And one was so desperate. But he picked up razor blades awfully sidewalk percent. Because he was down to and you know I've thought well that's not going to be me a gonna find something. That argument livelihood that. Something that I am really. Alabama broadcasted and -- -- is this what you enjoy music I don't Jordan again and thankfully I I still have an opportunity to play yet. As an amateur but. Making money doing music man that. That would have gone over so well so you do a little radio but television found you and then you ended up in New Orleans after and you know. Act -- channel late at generally the might be -- yes it was an ABC affiliate there right on Beckham back -- assembly yes. And then channel -- and then Phil Johnson. Told -- and how easy he did that India so beautiful. But then all of a sudden you left us because. CBS cult which is a high level us. I got up fellowship to Harvard University right as a nieman fellow something that Phil had done and I think there's several I was in this community who. Who who are nieman fellows -- gone through that program which is a dome and -- of mid career. Sabbatical for journalists who have promising. Careers who have exhibited some degree of of excellence professionalism. Doing their their career I was. Third mean. Seven at the time I got to calm. And I would -- four year and after harper. The vice president news for CBS. Called me up for an interview in New York. I went over earlier and they hired me. So instead of going back to WWL. I went from mom. -- Harvard Cambridge Massachusetts to New York. And from New York where I was. Indoctrinated. As only cesium and this could complete -- I thought I was this shipped off to. Washington DC. So I remember clearly because we were all we hold our breath every time's gonna come on. Have you endlessly stalled so it was a real fabulous time and Wyatt Andrews and Wyatt Andrews that's right but. I have to ask it as thrilling as it has to be too you know you go to the white house press your part of myself press corps. Was it more fun doing that then the streets in the world. No nothing could compare to the news here. In New Orleans this is one of the greatest news markets in the country if not the world. I couldn't agree is looking more you've got such a dynamic culture. Where things just happen. Happiness look at yesterday's story yes. And stories like. Katrina I remember the first story that are covered it when national here. In the New Orleans was the looming ferry -- oh my gosh and the continental grain elevator explosion. And then you and I talking to each other one night as the hurricane -- what's coming ashore. In 1979. That storm which for most mobile I was under the bed wrapped in a mattress talking to you. From 6 o'clock news storm blew it so. This is -- that are right button and it'll all I've said this for years in New Orleans is unique. As a no question about it and it is I love. We do have catastrophes we have characters we have corruption we have. All kinds of talent to. But it makes for great news. Even yesterday as I'm watching even though I want to just grab her by the neck and momma dean thing being so rude in front of me. But that's -- -- -- New Orleans it's hard enough to part of the part needs to be fixed via an letter ever saying godless America but don't -- OK I said my -- I feel threatened. Stay where this every one another half hour with Norman he's gonna tell us what is life is like now and what he's looking forward to future. You know Norman Robinson spent collectively how many years in broadcasting 4242. Years. And we've lived in the best of times and we've lived in changing times and and in some such changes are very good I don't mean this is a negative. But from one person to the other who spent decades -- -- what concerns you about broadcasting. The lack of critical analysis. And I don't mean that that there's not the acumen. To perform critical analysis. I think it has to do with timed given. Because things are so fast. And that the the mediums are -- on. -- are so various. And 81 person has to feed all of these mediums and a split second and I don't think that person ever reporter has time to really think about what they're doing. It's on our second nature to him. Mean you've got to feed the social networking you've got -- what you gotta feed. FaceBook. You've got to feed the web page. And then you've got to feed to a story yet to win three broadcasts. And now the news gone too. 4 PM in the afternoon they get it right that he got a four -- a five the other six. And those things come very quickly and you gotta be. You gotta you gotta be on your -- And you gotta think fast. And I just don't know that's there's a lot of time for critical analysis. Of this it is not enough time to really think about it to give the. Proper thought to what you need to do and I wonder if you pendulum swing a little bit I hope that in our rush for to meet these platforms and now we have to get involved. But now let's sit back and say what are the priorities. Exactly and we saw this happen we saw the downside of this when Adam. But back doing the globe the Boston bombing the Boston Marathon bombing remember yes there was such a rush to get the news out there they they put the wrong information there and they've done it. And that's been done nationally several times and and when you get to that point. Hopefully you have destroyed somebody's life or career by putting tremendous responsibility information. And I remember Phil Johnson used to LSU whole vote person's life in your hand. You know it's you you are very powerful medium you have the ability to shape opinions. You have the ability to build. A person's credibility you have the ability to destroy a person's credibility and so that is they've varies sacred. Profession in terms of how you handle someone's. Humanity. Something that concerns me is that. For those the very same reasons that we've always worked under deadline that's the nature of the beast no apology but now it's multiple deadlines and I just wonder if but some of the people won't burn out more quickly. And -- I think that it is longevity ultimately. That works best I mean your your invested in a community here invested in a station you work for. Your relationships that you build but if you just running all the time. Yep there it becomes. If it becomes a grind and it does and and it becomes routine. And when you start thinking routine but there's there's no creativity taking place there's it it it removes the of the imagination. And what you're doing is going through the motions and hopefully you know hopefully -- we will get to that point where where people are. Are exhausted. To the point that they -- they don't have time to really put any real effort. And real a real. Thought behind what they're doing. In and I used to wonder you know about the you know about the commitment to journalism to getting to getting story right. And to get the story right you have to be willing to release in the time on so that you get to know the people involved in the story. Moving on to you. Cook so let's talk this new chapter -- you've gut you're doing some things you you're open up and I love that open to suggestion that is the way it should be. But you've got to my irons in the fire. I do. I do I have I've started an LLC just just so that I would have something to do it's it's more an application. Van a vocation is not something I wanna do from 95 is not the bureau of two. As a I'm a matter of necessity. It's something that but I do ought to learn something new. Its the LLC is called the voice of Robinson and what it basically is is an image consultant. To teach people how to handle themselves. Professionally in the public. How to speak how to address. And what not to say basically. -- -- power OIPS I have I have a partner -- -- who has broken -- multimedia multi media solutions. Maybe -- And that week so we partner. This is my Forte her Forte is the room is getting out. Press releases. And getting people exposed. I'd like more lists. To see what I can do in terms of seeping somebody's. Personal and it because it is that happened with me you know. Bomb I had I had mentors as I was growing up in the parkinson's and I can remember I remember. Specifically -- -- And Phil Johnson I remember one day I was wearing a coat. Room already looking raincoat. I decided to Wear because -- My wool coat -- dirty. Phil Johnson did to me. So. Why did you Wear that raincoat in -- Not that beautiful coat you had on the today than it was dirty is that oh my god who would've known. For. The image is 99.9. Of every day. And I never I never forgot that you know -- image is important I mean if you view what you project is who you -- is -- what you are. You know it's it's the old story and I've said many times but in my first year television. My mother watched every single show I -- did -- the biggest story I ever covered. In my first two years was roe -- way it is in the early seventies and the major major and I mean I cover my brains out on that and I did and I call mother right after. Did you see did you see. And she said don't where that yellow dress again. And that was a pivotal moment yeah. I mean even even some who was Reagan's. President Reagan's. Chief of staff at the time I'll -- me slightly -- -- no no no there wasn't. Anybody remembers calling well yeah well at at any rate. What he said about him was this. You can have all the bad news in the world -- pupil pictures. You know that. Flowing around you've got a wonderful scenery the only thing they're gonna remember on TV is the image that you project. You know and so that was and that was president Reagan's -- today that was. He was able to do that he was able to pull the country together because he was able to projected image. Both strength. And solidarity summit isn't a priority yeah. So would his voice of Norman the boys of Robinson the voice of rob -- voice over Robinson and -- At just flew up there aren't gonna like it. Hoped that kind of made my living in my voice yeah all of these many years beautiful place all you know the voice of -- But it's for business people who want to know how to project an image -- like that and how to talk and how to not talk. What to do and -- let me tell you both of those were not going to what we could probably write a little book anyway. On the beauty of editing. Yeah we have saved people. Just we had we had been very kind very kind to people because it is upsetting when you're part of that. That the bad part of the job dissent and analogue tapes and it's logging all of these interviews and when you listen to help people -- something I -- for them. I do too and and I've taken it upon myself to make them look this is as well spot that's that's as good as possible you know I don't. And that certainly would make somebody look bad if they insist. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- So what else is up the pike for -- I'm doing a lot of Fuller rework and mentoring with with young boys at the Q net. My group on your show not too long ago the Silverbacks yes yeah. Norman that I did that show because I saw your two stories on yeah. I'm wonderful career though I'm -- so inspired by the Meehan in that program imitate. Thirteen year old boys. And tried to turn their lives in a positive direction not by giving. Money in things but by giving them themselves. And by being examples for those boys -- that twenty week program that takes place every school year. Let me tell him yes. I am so encouraged by that. By some of dissent among males and now and there are others which we have done a lot of people workers Shareef coups and has a great program. We are finally addressing what I -- consider the core of crime and that is the lack of parenting and guidance. These groups have come in the Silverbacks being just. They are turning lives around they are and it's wonderful to watch these kids at the end of affection. To see him if so confident yes and and look you in the eyes you know yes ma'am no they're full of -- -- and and and -- so entered static about life and rounding. You know it. We say that we it's really not is full. I mean you can't blame the child. If the child not being taught at home I'll fall. Thank you Norman Robinson but stay with this or not done we'll be right back I'm Angela and evidently -- We are back with the wonderful Norman Robinson. Okay we only have a few minutes left I'm going to cut the chase. What about Norman Robinson in politics. -- Norman -- and politics I don't see it. -- -- -- -- -- I don't know but I don't see it I not let. You know as I told they walker. I think -- not but I don't think politics from the Oval Office. But I just don't see myself there because I mean I'm I'm -- opinion it is meant to blow. I don't know I really don't think that that group. People would understand. Mine. My bluntness I don't think they would understand my frankness because -- does -- does pull that I just put it like it is. And I tell at the way I see it and in the. And some people on what I meant very refreshing the but perhaps in this let's let's talk about it in just in our final minutes here. Unusual legislative session. My lower if I had here I would have been pulling the -- is it if I I don't understand. Well I guess I do. Would you put your personal business as. The people's representative. Ahead of the people. When you think about your your own survival as opposed to what's good for the people then I concede that kind of session taking place. You know egos are as we talked earlier about egos that -- investigation that -- some. He egos are -- just based tremendous. Barrier when it comes to trying to calm reach compromise. On on on certain issues and a lot of us don't like to surrender. Well but you know it's called a bigger responsibility. Yet and whether the greater good whether it's in Baton Rouge and Washington DC -- and then losing it. And there's the system. Environment of anger which I don't get at all it's like grow up we have a job to do do. This is -- -- on the road trip -- -- you understand totally -- an audience would be I think a lot. BO become so you know we try to solve this problem with third term limits but you know I saw this. Coming a long time ago now -- it was introduced you cannot abrogate the responsibility. Or your obligation as a citizen. You cannot abrogate that to some kind of policy. You've got to be at the polls you've got -- proactive. In the streets you've got to be on the phone you've got three and positioned to write letters you've got to let the representatives though. That if they don't. Represent your interests them and are going to be -- the next time. It's that simple but why isn't it done because I think we're just. We're just a society or civilization has become too complacent were too comfortable. You know and they know it. And and and and they know how to get to us. Let me take -- -- a program this week with the city Pulitzer who's written a book you're talking about. The only -- we're gonna get out of this mess in Washington is by having the constitutional convention and it will have many things that we'll start with term limits. Where the president is present for six years where congress people only three years but up to. Three years twice and senators sixers -- No more career anything. And then you have the other thing of what happens in Baton Rouge and Washington which -- all of these special interest. But I don't think I I don't think politicians will do anything about that pushed by people people it's gonna take it or do people have always been as well. People. People move politicians react and what's been happening is. Politicians. Have been moving because people have not. Yet. Norman Robinson you wild wonderful. Is that. Thank you so much I'm really glad you've been in this community and you're gonna continue to do great things I really -- and I'm I'm glad your monthly average. Thankfully we have the wonderful John. And you're very stressful for me in the lucrative. Thank you very much. We'll hear more from Norman yes we will stay with -- everyone will be right. I cannot think Norman Robinson I truly mean he's a special man has been very special to this community all good things to him. I do wanna say that and our next hour we're going to get serious again about it and talking with the district attorney Leon -- -- Please if you have any questions from him any thoughts on crime. Give us a call 2601%. We'll be back uninsured under.

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