Two weeks ago Larry King announce his retirement. In 2008 we lost Tim Russert from Meet the Press and in 2011 Oprah will also take a final bow from her stage.
Each of these three can be considered among the greatest interviewers in television history. And they each had their own style. One might think that interviewing is a simple skill that is merely about having the right questions to ask. But a great interviewer does more than ask the right questions. A great interviewer evokes truth out of the interviewee.
Tim Russert did it with concern. Every fiber of his being expressed that the topics being addressed were too important not to treat seriously and honestly.
Larry King did it with curiosity. It didn’t matter who sat across from him. He was always fascinated. And his fascination rubbed off on his viewers and drew out his guests.
Oprah did it with compassion. Her guests and her audiences all knew that she cared deeply for them and the subject at hand.
And they all willingly addressed tough issues and asked the uncomfortable questions.