Ted Koppel: Broadcast news becoming 'degrading' to Americans

Ted Koppel: Broadcast news becoming 'degrading' to Americans »Play Video
His name will go down with the likes of Brokaw, Jennings, Woodruff and Schiefer as a Murrow Award winner at Washington State University.

Tonight, Ted Koppel receives the Edward R. Murrow Award for being a pillar in communications. In a rare personal interview, Koppel said he will never give up journalism, though he thinks broadcasting has taken a turn away from what's serious to light and what he called "degrading" to the American electorate.

"I was a journalist when I was 8 years old. I'm not going to stop because I'm reaching my decrepit years. I'll be a journalist until the day I die," said Koppel.

Koppel was with ABC News for 42 years. He is best-known for his role as anchor and managing editor of "Nightline", which debuted after the Iran hostage crisis more than three decades ago. He told me he rarely watches it now.

"It's no secret they have become hugely successful, because they are doing precisely what I didn't want 'Nightline' to do. It's become a show that's heavily oriented into entertainment, more than it is in the direction of information and news," he said.

"I report what's happened to broadcast news as dangerous to an informed electorate. For example, most of the overseas bureaus that existed when I was a young foreign correspondent have been shut down. Or they are being run by some local who has provided a little bit of information to the network. That's not healthy, that's not good. If anything, we need to know more about what's going on in the world today than we did 40 years ago, not less."

Despite his criticism of broadcast news, Koppel's now talking to NBC about being a contributor on a new magazine show.

"That's a possibility because they've asked me. We are in negotiations that may turn out well or may not. So I can't give you the answer you're pushing me for, Kathi!" he said.

At 71, Koppel told me he has no intention of giving up journalism.

"My wife has reluctantly come to the conclusion that I will probably never retire. But if she had her druthers, I'd be home and happy not working any more. But I'm afraid its part of my DNA."