Walter Cronkite, 1916-2009


This is how they did big-time TV news in 1973: Getting the story however it came in — phone, telex, slips of paper, whatever — and dishing it out as quick as you could. Walter Cronkite, who passed away today at 92, had a lot of practice at it. He dropped out of college during the Depression to take news jobs, and hustled to become one of the country’s top war correspondents during WWII. In 1950 Edward R. Murrow recruited him to CBS, where he rose to anchorman of the CBS Evening News, serving till 1981. There are a lot of justifiably famous moments in that career, including his somber announcement of the death of President Kennedy, his moon landing coverage, and his 1968 on-air editorial in a special report about the Vietnam War that so discomfited LBJ. And Cronkite had a good voice and a smooth but earnest demeanor that made people willing to let him into their living rooms and to credit what he told them. But he was first and last a journalist trying to bring the story.

Update: This is a beautiful reminiscence.

Update 2: Did you know he was a Volvo racer? And that he broke the Beatles in the U.S.?