CNN Vet Pilgrim Doesn't Miss Cronkite Era of Journalism

CNN Vet Pilgrim Doesn't Miss Cronkite Era of Journalism

Kitty Pilgrim retired from journalism to write escapist novels. But the former CNN anchor and international correspondent isn’t ruling out a return to broadcast journalism.

She applauds the growth of social media and web-based news outlets even while some of her colleagues bemoan the encroachment of bloggers and overly partisan voices.

“I’ve reported on repressive societies, like North Korea,” says Pilgrim, who began at CNN at a time when the fledgling network had just 35 employees in the news bureau. “A multiplicity of news sources is a good thing. The more information you have in a society shows the maturing of society.”

She cringes at the uniform nature of the Cronkite era of news broadcasting, when it was assumed that an august anchor’s take on the day’s events was the only one worth absorbing.

“Walter Cronkite would tell them exactly what he thought the world was, according to his vision, with such finality,” she says.

That isn’t the case any longer, and she’s delighted consumers have many more options.

“You have to be a grown up and figure out what sources are not telling the accurate truth,” she says, adding American culture is entering the “adult years of our information society.”

And, if she does return to journalism, she thinks becoming a novelist has made her a better reporter.

“Taking a break has really helped me,” she says. “At the anchor desk you’re pretty isolated.  The kind of people I’m talking to now … it’s just the lady down the street and how she liked your book. They’re telling their personal stories [to me]. The book is a vehicle to open up this dialogue.”