Charlie Rose accepts Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism

When Charlie Rose was growing up, he worked in his father's country store in Henderson, North Carolina, and his natural curiosity helped him delve first-hand into a journalist's mindset.

“I was born with curiosity, and exercised and honed it from the time my father had me working at his store," Rose said. "It was the only way in — the way to connect with people was to ask questions."

So, when Rose stood up from his seat in a yellow cushioned chair to receive the 32nd annual Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, he had 43 years of experience as a CBS anchor, 60 Minutes host and talk show host.

As a crowd of more than 1,100 gathered in the ballroom of the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix Hotel, Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan introduced Rose as an esteemed guest.

"I cannot think of an honoree that represents Walter Cronkite’s values and striving for excellence than our 2015 honoree Charlie Rose,” Callahan said. 

Rose accepted his award and said his personal success came from working alongside his peers.

“On every show that I do … I get to work with the best people in my profession," he said. "They are not only my colleagues, they are my heroes."

As advice to the hundreds of alumni and students, Rose said curiosity was the most important trait of a journalist.

Rose began his own career with curiosity, and he grew into the the man standing on front of the students and alumni with a glass award clasped in his hand because of it.

Rose dedicated his award to the many journalists who've lost their lives while reporting over the years.

"Each life of a journalist lost doing what he or she love to do is a painful reminder of the price that we pay to live in a free society," he said.

Journalism freshman Savannah Has said the advice Rose offered was raw and unique for Cronkite students.

“He gave amazing advice to us, he had a whole speech on the importance of not pretentious in the position and addressing controversy," Has said. "It was inspiring."

The audience gave Rose a standing ovation.

“Curiosity has been my best friend, questions have been my power and conversations have been my ticket,” Rose said.

Reach the reporter at or follow @meganjanetsky on Twitter.

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