TVNewser’s Gail Shister and others report that longtime newsman Walter Cronkite is “gravely ill” and may be nearing death.
As we at Poynter talked about Cronkite and his legacy, Poynter’s Jill Geisler sent an e-mail to CBS newsman Bob Schieffer, host of “Face the Nation,” asking for his thoughts. Schieffer serves on Poynter’s National Advisory Board and has taught at Poynter. He quickly sent this reply:
Walter and Ed Murrow defined broadcast journalism, and there was no one else then or now who even came close.
I love Walter, I wanted to be just like him when I was a young reporter, and when I came to work for him I found out he was just the same off camera as he was on camera. Somehow, people came to understand that, and I think that is why so many people trusted him.
Walter always understood that … the news was more important than those of us who report it. People appreciated that, and they loved Walter for it.
Cronkite continued to believe in journalism, despite industry declines. In reference to the awards named in his honor, Cronkite said, “Americans may have more places to turn for political news than ever before, but television remains journalism’s largest public square … Especially when resources are painfully scarce, it’s important to celebrate journalists who use their skills at gathering and reporting a story to strengthen our democracy.”
Cronkite recorded the opening of his former newscast, so his familiar voice can be heard saying, “This is the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.”