Chris Wallace, the host of FoxNews Sunday, was honored at the Excellence in Journalism conference Sunday evening with the Paul White award, the highest honor for lifetime achievement from the Radio Television Digital News Association.
Wallace, who has won three Emmy awards, said he was appreciative to be receiving an award his father previously received in 1991.
“I spent most of my early years trying to get out of my father’s shadow,” Wallace said. “Now, gone a year, and I don’t want you all to forget him.”
In a video before the speech, friends and colleagues of Wallace remarked that he was a professional journalist who didn’t take himself too seriously. During his speech, Wallace made several humorous remarks about himself and his career.
“From the vantage point of a long career, the mustache was really a bad idea,” Wallace said. “My mother was right.”
But, jokes aside, Wallace made several serious remarks about the future of journalism, and he gave advice to his colleagues and the students in attendance.
“We live and compete in a world… filled with tweets and blogs and the voracious appetite of the Internet,” Wallace said. “We have always wanted to get the story first. But now first is measured in seconds, even milliseconds.”
Wallace said the attitude to increase the speed of coverage has resulted in the death of coverage.
“The danger is one person gets something wrong, and there is no structure in place to catch the mistake,” Wallace said. “The story gets picked up and shot around the world before the truth catches up.”
Wallace went on to reference the Boston Marathon and Sandy Hook coverage, which featured many mistakes.
“The Internet will always be first — I’m not talking right now about legitimate digital news organizations,” Wallace said. “You can not compete with twitters, and bloggers and people that are writing in their pajamas living in their parents basement.”
Wallace’s ultimate advice was to sacrifice getting something first, in order to get it right.
“Play the long game,” Wallace said. “Tell your audience we won’t always have it first, not because we aren’t covering the story but precisely because we are covering the story.”
Correction: Because of an transcribing error, this story was updated to correct Chris Wallace’s quote regarding competing with twitters and bloggers. Wallace said you can not compete with twitter and bloggers, not that you could.