Gordon Greb Believes in Learning by Heart.

Posted on October 5, 2011


For a 90-year-old man, this living broadcast legend walked into the room with the swagger of someone at least twenty years younger. Standing tall and ready to speak words of 77 years worth of broadcast journalism and 90 years of life, Gordon Greb gave San Jose State University (SJSU) JMC students a look into his accomplishments, career, and his life.

The founder of the Broadcast Journalism degree at SJSU celebrated his 90th birthday by first speaking to Prof. Darla Belshe’s Prof. Cynthia McCune classes for an hour at 10:30 in the morning. With such energy, he first speaks about his granddaughters and their first moments walking.  “They are incredibly different from each other,” he says. Greb explains how although his granddaughters are twins, one starts to walk with caution while the other comes head on, yet both are so happy to accomplish that milestone of walking. He then playfully coins himself as a “mother” because he played a significant role in raising them. Just in those few minutes, this legend humanizes himself and shows a personal light on who he is.

At 90,  Greb talked about his  role in World War II and how he has had close calls to dying. Although he took part in the war, he was adamantly against it. “Wanting peace won’t bring you peace.” he said. Thus, his reasons for becoming a journalist seemed as if he felt it was his mission for society to benefit from. “We need thinking people who aren’t afraid to stand up.” This rings true when he tells a story about exposing the conflict between two politicians in San Jose at the start of his career.

As a former San Jose resident, Greb spoke how this city started it all with journalism. He then compares the city of Athens to San Jose. Like San Jose, “Athens is a city in which knowledge and education are appreciated,” he said. “It is a place where great ideas happen over and over and over again.” And you may think, what are his  views about the future of media? Like anyone else, it is uncertain. “I have gone through my whole life surrounded by a mass media revolution,” he said. As technology advances, he advises that aspiring journalists should be “better informed, know the preamble, and know freedom of speech and press.”

With having a broadcast career in San Francisco, Hollywood, San Jose, London and many other places, he thinks his biggest accomplishment is being “a good father, husband, and good grandfather.” He also said how even though there are things in life that you do not want to do, it is best to “learn by heart.” Like his story with his grandchildren, he shows that it takes steps to achieve greatness and keep in mind to do what you love.

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