Even in his early career, Walter Cronkite resisted the temptation to get the story first in favor of getting it right. He wanted to get it first, but he understood the importance of getting it right. During one of his first jobs in Kansas City, Walter’s program manager urged him to go on the air reporting a massive blaze — and we just heard how much he loved fires — a massive blaze at city hall that had already claimed lives. When Walter reached for the telephone, his boss asked, “What are you doing; get on the air!” Walter replied that he was calling the fire department to confirm the story. “You don’t need to confirm it,” the manager shouted, “my wife is watching the whole thing!”
Needless to say, Walter made the call, and even as the program manager took to the air himself to broadcast the unfolding tragedy, Walter discovered that it had been nothing more than a small fire that hadn’t resulted in any injuries. He lost his job — but he got the story right.