Former Correspondent on Covering the Presidency

SCRANTON -- A journalist who covered six U.S. presidents came back to his hometown and his alma mater Friday morning speaking about his experiences.

There are few people who have had such a direct view of U.S. presidents as Gene Gibbons from Scranton. He covered Presidents Nixon through Clinton and Friday we got his take on news coverage in President Trump's Era.

"There I found myself looking across this big oak desk at the most powerful man in the world."

That was the first time Gene Gibbons asked President Richard Nixon a question. The Scranton native and University of Scranton alumnus would go on to ask questions of six U.S. presidents.

Now, it was his turn to get the questions at an event held in his honor at the University of Scranton.

Gibbons was the White House correspondent for Reuters. He says covering the presidency has changed a lot since he left during the Clinton administration.

University of Scranton journalism students covered Gibbons' visit by live tweeting so, we asked him what he thought about President Trump's use of Twitter.

"The society we live in, the age we live in, is enormously complex one," Gibbons said. "I don't think you can reduce important ideas and issues to 142 characters. So, I think, generally, it does a disservice to the public and to the information providing, information delivery systems."

With so many more ways to get information about politics and other topics, Gibbons ended his talk with a warning that news consumers need to do their own research.

"There used to be a saying in newsrooms that I worked in: 'if your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.' Well, if somebody tells you something, take a look at it with a grain of salt."

Gibbons is a member of the University of Scranton class of 1964. He received an honorary doctorate in 1996.