104. Author Luke Russert on Grief, Travel, and Political Media
Welcome to another episode of the Willoughby Hills podcast!
In today’s episode, I talk with Luke Russert about his new book Look For Me There.
Luke is the son of legendary NBC News reporter and longtime host of Meet the Press Tim Russert. Luke had a strong bond with his father, which made Tim’s tragic and unexpected passing in 2008 very difficult.
Luke had just graduated from college when his father died and was suddenly met with several competing offers to join the TV news business and continue his family’s legacy (his mother is writer Maureen Orth). Feeling the momentum of the moment and a sense of duty to his late father, Luke joined NBC News, eventually becoming a Capitol Hill correspondent.
Except he never really stopped to consider if the work he was doing was making him happy. It took a frank discussion with then Speaker of the House John Boehner to make Luke realize that perhaps he was chasing somebody else’s dream.
Luke set off for a road trip to Maine to find himself, which ended up becoming a three year journey to every continent in the world except for Antartica. He visited sacred sites and prayed with people of other faiths (he is a devout Catholic). He saw the effects of American imperialism and commercialism, plus the toll that war had taken on places like Vietnam and Hiroshima.
We had an amazingly honest and open discussion about the grieving process, American identity, faith, and the role of the media in politics. It was a deep and intense conversation but Luke also spoke with a calm and clarity that I appreciated.
I highly recommend Luke’s book- it’s a good read for your summer travels. You can learn more here.
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