Scott Pelley, correspondent for “60 Minutes,” presents his keynote speech as part of the grand opening of the Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism Tuesday evening at Indiana University’s Franklin Hall. (Bobby Goddin / Herald-Times)
Scott Pelley, correspondent for “60 Minutes,” presents his keynote speech as part of the grand opening of the Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism Tuesday evening at Indiana University’s Franklin Hall. (Bobby Goddin / Herald-Times)
Scott Pelley said someone came up to him on the street in Manhattan recently and told him it must be a terrible time to be a reporter. Pelley replied that it was just the opposite.

“It’s the best time possible to be a reporter because the American people are looking at us right now, they’re paying attention to what we’re doing and this is an opportunity to show them what we do and how we do it and what our principles are and the indispensable role that journalism plays in our freedom,” he said.

Pelley, a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes,” was the keynote speaker for a daylong celebration marking the opening of Indiana University’s Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism. The celebration began Tuesday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by panel discussions with award-winning journalists.

Many of those journalists had ties to Indiana, IU or both. Pelley, a graduate of Texas Tech University, did not, but Kathleen Johnston, director of the new investigative center, did her best to find a connection while introducing the former “CBS Evening News” anchor.

“Nineteen years ago today there was a personnel change,” she said, in reference to the firing of legendary IU men’s basketball coach Bob Knight, who went on to coach at Texas Tech.

Pelley peppered his 50-minute speech with jokes and humorous anecdotes, such as the time he ran from an interview with a Chinese dissident in a Beijing park before realizing the man chasing him was only asking him to stay off the grass. But much of what Pelley said to the more than 200 people gathered in Franklin Hall took a more serious tone.

He opened by thanking Arnolt, an IU alumnus who donated $6 million to create the investigative journalism center.
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