QuinniPeople: Paul Friedman

By Taylor Popielarz

“I’ve been so unbelievably lucky because I lived through and worked during the Golden Age of television news.”

Strong words, spoken by a man with a strong resume.

Quinnipiac Journalism Professor Paul Friedman is a 40-year veteran of network television news who has held nearly every high-ranking job one can as a journalist. His former titles include executive producer of the Today Show, executive vice president of both CBS and ABC News, executive producer of World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and the list goes on.

Friedman’s journey began while a student at Princeton, when he joined the college radio station as a disc jockey for a jazz show. He then helped cover President Johnson dedicating a building at the school, and he loved it. He then went on to Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and entered the workforce in 1967 as a writer for NBC Radio News.

Friedman discusses a love for showing people what’s going on in places that they might never get too. While speaking with him, he began recounting just a few of the places he traveled too, and some of the significant people he got to meet.

“The Berlin Wall was pretty incredible coming down,” Friedman said. “Going to China and Russia, and wars in the Middle East, and riots in American cities, and meeting every president since Johnson.”

Friedman is a dog-loving father of four who now spends his time teaching broadcast writing at Quinnipiac University. He conducts his class with a sarcastic yet sophisticated style, aiming to help each student improve as a writer.

“By the end of the term I see big improvement,” he said, “and that’s enormously satisfying, especially if you believe, as I do, that writing is the single most undervalued thing in the educational system and in journalism.”

Friedman jokes that like when he was producing, he still yells a lot as a professor, but he notes he certainly curses less. But while speaking with Friedman, it became clear that high standards are something this man prides himself on.

“I am proud of the fact that I will leave behind a bunch of people who know what they’re doing,” Friedman said, “and who have high standards, and who care about the truth.”

These are lessons Friedman tries to instill in both his students, and his daughter, who is a producer at ABC News.

“I don’t think I ever stopped insisting on high standards and good performance from people,” Friedman said. “And I think they profit from that, and I think the audience profits from that.”


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