And that’s the way it should be (Editor’s notes)

HR lessons from Walter Cronkite
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/10/2009

Every industry and profession has its giants. CEOs have Jack Welch. Actors have the likes of Marlon Brando and Meryl Streep. HR doesn’t have that one legendary giant — yet. (Go ahead and Google “legendary HR professional.” Keep the quotation marks in and you’ll get zero hits.) But there are some serious heavyweights in the profession.

My profession recently lost one of its biggest giants south of the border. Walter Cronkite, legendary anchor of CBS News and the “most trusted man in America,” passed away last month at the age of 92. He spent decades on the airwaves, ending his newscasts with his immortal line: “And that’s the way it is.” The characteristics that made Cronkite a legend can be admired, and emulated, by journalists and HR professionals alike.

Take a brief look at his career. Cronkite started out as a print journalist and, like most serious journalists of the time, had nothing but disdain for television news when it was invented. TV, after all, was for actors and comedians, not serious news folks. But when he made the reluctant jump to TV in the early 1950s after much prodding, he brought credibility to the airwaves.