DARIEN—“60 Minutes” has succeeded because it treats news as public service not simply as a business decision, said CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager at the New Covenant Center Celebrity Breakfast this morning in Darien.
More than 200 turned out at Woodway Country Club to celebrate the 40th anniversary of New Covenant Center (NCC), which provides more than 600,000 meals yearly to the working poor, elderly and homeless of the greater Stamford area.
Sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Bridgeport, the inner city soup kitchen relies on hundreds of interfaith volunteers along with its small professional staff to provide nutrition and social services.
In his keynote talk, Fager praised New Convent Center staff and volunteers for the public service they provide and said that the news media also provide a public service in a democracy.
Fager shared some of the ground rules that have made “60 Minutes” one of the most enduring and trusted news shows in TV history.
He said the producers and reporters never talk down to an audience, and they don’t rely on audience research to determine topics. Rather they look to the editors and reporters to tell compelling stories. That may not be “what the audience wants to see, but it’s what is important in their lives as Americans.”
Fager, who is the author of the book “50 years of 60 minutes” said the stories are chosen not simply because they’re interesting, but because they shed light on a larger issue.
He warned that labeling news as “fake news” is corrosive to a democracy and enables people to read or believe only what makes them comfortable or confirms their opinions.
“We must be careful to fall into the trap of labeling news we disagree with as ‘fake news,’” Fager said.
During the meeting J. Randy Salvatore of New Canaan, Chief Executive of the Stamford-based RMS Companies, was presented the “Founder’s Award” for his contribution of pro bono construction management services during construction of NCC’s new and expanded building.
“This award was presented in appreciation to Randy Salvatore for helping to make our dream a reality for our current and future generations,” said John Gutman, NCC Executive Director.
The 8,200 square foot center, completed in 2015, enabled NCC to expand its dining and pantry services, create bath and shower facilities for homeless guests, and also include space for a laundry room, barber services, job skills training and social programs provided at the soup kitchen to help people become more independent
Gutman thanked all those who turned out for the breakfast celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Stamford soup kitchen, and said he was optimistic because of the generosity of people and the involvement of youth.
He said the new “Social Night of Service” program has engaged young adults into the multi-generational work of feeding the poor. He added that NCC will also reach out to Middle School and High School students to involve them in the NCC mission, which is focused on Hunger Prevention and social services for a better life. Services is open all free of charge.
Rabbi Jay TelRav, of Temple Sinai delivered the invocation and Msgr. Thomas Powers, Vicar General of the Diocese of Bridgeport, gave the final Benediction.
During the breakfast, Sarita Hanley, co-chair of the event introduced the New Convenant Center video, the NCC mission and introduced viewers to guests and staff.
New Covenant Center is located at 174 Richmond Hill Avenue in Stamford. Phone 203.964.8228. Online at: www.newcovenantcenter.org