A salute to Charles Osgood, the bard of broadcast news

At the age of 83, news veteran Charles Osgood will be leaving CBS "Sunday Morning," after 22 years as anchor. He is known for two trademarks: a dapper bowtie and a penchant for turning news copy into verse.

His first collection of news poems was titled "Nothing Could Be Finer Than a Crisis That Is Minor in the Morning." He dedicated that 1979 volume “To Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)/Who gave me a way to look at the neuss.”

Upon hearing of Osgood’s imminent departure, I rushed for my notebook and crafted this tribute, a poetic rendition of Osgood’s life and career. Enjoy.

Osgood was his middle name,
His real last name was Wood.
How much news could a newshound chuck
With a handle like Chuck Wood?

He was born in New York City
When Depression life suffused,
But he spent the war in Baltimore
And heard Murrow on the news.

In college it was Fordham U.,
His major economics.
He worked best with the FM crew,
His voice like gin and tonics.

An emcee for the Army Band,
He worked with a composer.
A Grammy for the spoken word
Proclaimed he was no poser.

CBS came knocking
With its big all-news format.
"The Osgood File on Westwood One"
The name on his doormat.

On TV came the Sunday news,
Would he be Charles Kuralt?
Unlike his pal from "On the Road,"
He’d have to prove his salt.

Now at the age of 83
He’ll finally step aside.
Osgood, was good, is good,
May news lyrics e’er abide.

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    Roy Peter Clark

    Roy Peter Clark has taught writing at Poynter to students of all ages since 1979. He has served the Institute as its first full-time faculty member, dean, vice-president, and senior scholar.


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