Journalism icon Mike Wallace died Saturday night, surrounded by family and friends, in New Caanan, CT. Wallace, 93, had a broadcast career that spanned over sixty years. He was probably best known as a correspondent for CBS’ 60 Minutes, where his assertive style of interviewing became legendary.
Wallace was born in Brookline, MA to Russian immigrant parents. He graduated from Brookline High School and went on to attend the University of Michigan, working part-time as a reporter for a local newspaper while attending college. After graduating, Wallace worked as a writer and broadcaster at several local Michigan radio stations before locating to Chicago. During World War II, he served as US Navy communications officer and returned to Chicago when he was discharged.
Over the next decade or so, Wallace went on to host many game and news shows, (common during a time where news and entertainment were melded together), eventually moving from radio to television. One of his most popular early shows was Night Beat, where Wallace first displayed his talent for pit-bull styling reporting. It was that style that producer Don Hewitt remembered years later when he was creating 60 Minutes. The show premiered with Wallace and Harry Reasoner at the helm on September 24, 1968.
He was a regular correspondent with the show until March of 2006, but continued to work as a “Correspondent Emeritus” until 2008. The impressive array of awards he received through the course of his career include twenty Emmy awards, (including a Lifetime Achievement Emmy), three Peabody awards, three Alfred I duPont-Columbia University awards and a Robert F. Kennedy School of Journalism award.
He once told his friend and colleague Morley Safer “It’s astonishing what you learn and feel and see along the way. That’s why a reporter’s job, as you know, is such a joy.”
Clam chowder, Boston cream pie, baked beans, Fenway Franks, Parker House rolls, chocolate chip cookies, the list of culinary highlights from around the Boston area demonstrates a diversity of foodie thought that reflects our history and culture. These are exactly the reasons why Mayor Menino’s office and Boston-based marketing agency, Digitas, are working together to bring season 10 of the Bravo show “Top Chef” to the hub.
The Emmy award winning series, which has featured fellow culinary capitals like San Francisco, Washington D.C., and San Antonio, is currently in the process of choosing the filming location of it’s next season. Executives at the Bravo network are reportedly looking at both Boston and Portland, Oregon as possible locations.
On February 1st, a lobbying campaign on Twitter called “#yougottatryboston” launched, aiming to convince the decision-makers at Bravo that Boston is the place to be. The mayor has sent out his own tweets and even sought to get local college students in on the act, playing to their propensity for documenting food choices through social media.
Besides the obvious cache of having such a popular series film in the city, there are a number of built in benefits that make the idea a rather tasty dish. Despite several years of increased diversity in the Boston culinary scene, many tourists remain unaware of what Boston’s restaurants have to offer. If “Top Chef” were to film here, the series would be able to demonstrate to viewers nationwide that our food skills are sharp, bolstering the local economy through increased tourism revenue.
Over the years, the Boston food scene has never been too far from the spotlight. Acclaimed chefs like Julia Child, Todd English, and Emeril Lagasse have all called Boston home, and the latter two have even appeared on “Top Chef” as guest judges. We’ve even had a number of chefs featured on the show, most notably, Tiffani Faison, who appeared both in the series’ debut season, where she was runner-up, and the recent “Top Chef; Allstars” edition. The popular chef opened her own barbecue restaurant in the shadow of Fenway Park, this past fall.
No word yet on how close the Bravo execs are to reaching a decision, but in prior seasons they have left it till as late as 2 months before filming in the fall. That should give them plenty of time to give the Boston food scene a try.
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