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Reflections from Cokie RobertsDuring a visit to CNET Networks Monday, radio and TV correspondent Cokie Roberts sits down with CNET News.com's Kara Tsuboi to discuss Robert's new book, <i>Ladies of Liberty</i>, and other topics. Hear why Google got a mention in the acknowledgments...
^M00:00:00 [ Music ] >> I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET New.com, and I am very pleased to introduce our guest today, Cokie Roberts. She is, of course, a national correspondent for NPR, ABC News, and the author of a new book, called "Ladies of Liberty." Thank you for joining us. >> Great to be with you, Kara. >> And one thing I'm really interested in is I was reading the introduction of the book, and I noticed that you give a thank you to Google. >> I do. >> How... >> How could I have done it without Google? Because it has become so much easier to do research when you can just sit in your own house and type in a search word on Google and get an answer. You have to be careful what sites you go to. >> This is very true. >> But once you know what site you're at, and you -- it's legit, you can learn things very quickly. I'll give you a quick example. I was working in the Huntingdon Library in Pasadena, and came across these invitations from the Court of Napoleon to the American Ambassador in France and his wife. These -- this is in 1812-ish. And the original invitations, so it was very exciting to see them. So it's this old world, but I didn't know who any of those people were who were inviting them to tea or dinner or whatever. Put their names in and up they come. So it was this wonderful marriage of the new and the old. >> All of us have Googled ourselves, I presume. And in doing some research, I did find that your given name is quite, quite long. Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs. Is that right? What happens when you type all six names into Google? What do you find? >> Oh, I've never done it. >> We've got to get a laptop out here. How did you get Cokie from those names? >> My brother couldn't pronounce Corinne when I came home from the hospital a mere 64 years ago. It's not anything sexy. >> But it stuck, at least. Let's talk a little bit about the way that the online media has really shifted the traditional that, in a way, you are still part of. I mean I know your reports obviously are online as well, but you know, you are traditionally a broadcast journalist. And what's the influence online is playing? >> It's got pluses and minuses. The fact is, is that the filing constantly for the people who are having to do it, which does not include me, is a problem because you don't have adequate time to report. And so that often these stories are derivative. You're using somebody else's reporting instead of going out there and reporting it yourself. So that's a problem. On the other hand, it keeps a newsroom up and alive and active to have constant stories emanating from the newsroom. >> Absolutely. I mean would you say that online media though -- you sort of touched on this -- could maybe trivialize some of the current events, just because it does get so fractured out? >> I don't think online trivializes anywhere near as much as cable TV does. No, I mean it. The constant repetition of the picture or the sound bite or whatever, I think does have the effect of trivializing. Where as online, you have stories being refreshed all the time. >>And what about the role that the bloggers are playing? I mean now that we have so many bloggers out there, you know, are they-- they're really turning into, maybe, the real watchdogs. >> Yes and no. There are some bloggers who are watchdogs, and it's been, I think, a very good thing. On the other hand, there are a lot of people writing a lot of stuff that they don't know anything about. And there is a certain amount of decline of excellence, because, you know, people who were educated in a certain subject and covered it for a long time actually know more than people who weren't. And that is completely, just thrown out the window in this current atmosphere. >> Now, in response in some the CNET questions earlier today, you did answer that the way the process covering this election in '08 is really no different from before. Do you -- you could still make that argument, even with the rise of YouTube and the rise of...? >> Well, no. I think that YouTube has affected the campaigns much more than anybody could have possibly anticipated. But I don't think that's really the coverage of it. I think that's the fact of it. You know, when you have Barack Obama at a fundraiser in San Francisco saying something that is up on the Internet via YouTube within minutes, and that resonates throughout the campaign, that's an enormous difference. I mean in the olden days, a politician could say one thing one side of town, and one thing on the other side of town, and radio and television pretty much ended that. But now, you can't say something, you know, in your own bedroom without it being on a cell phone and out on the Internet. So politicians have to be very careful. And that's fine. I don't have any objection to that. It's just different and interesting. >> Absolutely. I mean the smart ones see it as a marketing tool, of course. >> And well, they're all trying to market it. They just do it with varying degrees of success. >> Absolutely. And sophistication.... >> Right. >> ...to actually reach the masses. >> Right. >> Now some questions that we do like to ask our guests is do you have a favorite website? What is the one website that you would go to every single morning to check? >> No. I don't. What I go to every morning to check is my own ABC website. >> ABC News.com? >> No. Uh-huh. My internal web - I just go to check my email. But there's a lot of news on my email because ABC reporters are filing from all over the world. So I have learned a great deal on my email. >> And read the morning note and all those other details that come through. >> Right. Right. >> What about gadgets? Are there any of those "must have" gadgets that you keep in your purse at all times? >> I keep a BlackBerry and a cell phone, but that's just because I have to. I don't -- I'd rather not. >> But as far as your, you know, iPod and Nano, or your... >> I don't -- I've never owned an iPod. I have no idea how they work. >> I'm sure your grandkids can help you out in that department. >> I'm sure they could. >> Yeah. >> I'm sure they could. >> What about email etiquette? Have you -- has it changed the way that you correspond with people? >> Well, I certainly correspond more quickly with people, particularly on the BlackBerry 'cause it hurts. But the -- I try not to use stupid terms or any of that. I write whole words. >> The LOL hasn't quite... >> No. I don't do that. >> That's probably a good thing. Some of those abbreviations are not necessary. >> But, you know, people ask me all the time about the fact that, in my books, letters are so important. And that - and say what's going to happen now that there are no more letters? But the truth is email is fulfilling a role there. And for a long time in there, from, you know, the '70s, '80s, into the '90s, it was all on the telephone. And now having email, I think, is having a written record of our history again. And even though it's not ecologically sound, I do recommend to families to print out the emails of their family members because you really do have a written record then. >> And it's all we have because no one is putting pen to paper any more. >> Right. And anybody who's had a run in with a district attorney's office can tell you that emails are forever. >> Yeah. That's a good record, whether you like it or not. Thank you very much. We appreciate your time here, Cokie Roberts. >> Great to be with you, Kara. >> Thank you. I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET News.com. ^M00:07:46 [ Music ]