September 9, 2022

A media legend has died. Bernard Shaw, CNN’s first chief anchor when the network launched in 1980, died from complications of pneumonia, according to his family. He was 82.

Shaw retired in 2001, but his impact is still remembered. He was a mainstay on the air during the first Gulf War when he was live from Baghdad in 1991. Shaw reported the initial bombing by hunkering under desks and in bomb shelters. That work, with correspondents Peter Arnett and John Holliman, was instrumental in CNN making a name for itself in the news industry.

In a statement, CNN CEO and chairman Chris Licht called Shaw a “beloved anchor and colleague,” and called his work from Baghdad “iconic.” Licht added, “Even after he left CNN, Bernie remained a close member of our CNN family providing our viewers with context about historic events as recently as last year. The condolences of all of us at CNN go out to his wife Linda and his children.”

Many journalists paid tribute to Shaw on Twitter.

CNN’s John King tweeted, “We have lost a CNN original. A trailblazer and legend, a man of profound talent and endless grace. Soft spoken yet booming voice. A role model and example and mentor to so so many. #RIP Bernard Shaw.”

CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez tweeted, “Bernard Shaw, an all-time legend and CNN’s first chief anchor when the network launched in 1980 has died at 82. The example he set blazed a trail for so many. May he Rest In Peace.”

CNN’s Abby D. Phillip tweeted that Shaw was a “trailblazer and a true CNN original.”

Before joining CNN, Shaw worked at CBS and ABC. Besides his work as an anchor and in the Gulf War, Shaw also moderated a presidential debate in 1988 and covered protests in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The Associated Press’ David Bauder noted that Shaw, upon his retirement in 2001 at the age of 61, told NPR that despite everything he did in journalism, because of all of the things he missed with his family while working, “I don’t think it was worth it.”

Another passing

Another journalist known for reporting from Baghdad also has died. Anne Garrels, an international correspondent for NPR, died earlier this week from, according to her husband, lung cancer. She was 71.

The New York Times’ Katharine Q. Seelye wrote, “Ms. Garrels started her journalism career in television at ABC News. But it was at NPR, where she worked for more than two decades, that she made her name covering strife and bloodshed across the globe. She became known for conveying how momentous events, like wars, affected the people who lived through them. Her backdrops included the Soviet Union, Tiananmen Square, Bosnia, Chechnya, the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Seelye added, “Her elegant personal style and intellectual air masked a zeal for taking risks. She covered both Chechen wars despite a Russian ban on outside journalists. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she traveled to Afghanistan to report from the front lines of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. During that trip, when journalists in a convoy were ambushed and killed, Ms. Garrels decided that she would be safer traveling alone‌ and embarked by herself on a two-day bus ride to Kabul.‌ Along the way, she collected the stories of the people around her for reports on the war’s human toll, writing dispatches by candlelight and sending them by satellite phone.”

Check out the obit written by Seelye for more about Garrels’ fascinating career.

Conservatives block advance of journalism bill

For this item, I turn it over to Poynter media business analyst Rick Edmonds.

The long-gestating attempt to give news organizations greater power to negotiate with Google and Facebook to be paid for content hit another snag Thursday.

The occasion was a Senate Judiciary Committee “markup” of the Journalism Competition and Protection Act that would have given local news organizations an antitrust exemption to bargain with the platform companies. Supporters had hoped the upshot would be to move the bill on to the full Senate for approval.

That’s not what happened.

After Republicans offered a series of criticisms and amendments, one aimed at blocking censorship of content passed.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the principal sponsor of the JCPA, said that change would fatally weaken the measure. She said rather than go forward she would roll further consideration over to a future meeting of the committee.

“The agreement we had has been blown up,” Klobuchar said with evident bitterness.

More details

As I wrote about in Thursday’s newsletter, a public official has been arrested following the stabbing death of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German. The journalist had written about and was continuing to investigate Clark County public administrator Rob Telles.

Now more details are emerging. KTNV in Nevada has a timeline of German’s murder, including this: “The encounter between German and a suspect since identified as Telles was captured on video, investigators revealed in a statement of probable cause for Telles’ arrest.”

The New York Times’ Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Mike Baker wrote, “The authorities have not recovered a murder weapon but said they had found a hat and shoes that matched those of a person seen in surveillance footage at the crime scene. Both had been cut in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence, the authorities said, and the shoes had blood on them.”

According to the Review-Journal, German spent months working on a story surrounding Telles’ oversight of the office. The paper wrote, “German also had recently filed public records requests for emails and text messages between Telles and three other county officials: Assistant Public Administrator Rita Reid, estate coordinator Roberta Lee-Kennett and consultant Michael Murphy. Lee-Kennett was identified in previous stories as a subordinate staffer allegedly involved in an ‘inappropriate relationship’ with Telles.”

The Review-Journal story went on to say, “German’s death came months after he reported that current and former employees alleged that Telles fueled a hostile work environment and carried on a relationship that impaired the office’s ability to deal with the public. The complaints led to co-workers secretly videotaping the two in the back seat of Lee-Kennett’s car in a parking garage. The story also included claims of bullying and favoritism by Telles.”

Notable journalism pieces to catch up on over the weekend …

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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