Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hats off to Ed Bradley

The 66th Annual Peabody Award winners were announced Wednesday, rewarding the creativity and hard work of 35 recipients. After reading the Press Release [http://www.peabody.uga.edu/news/pressrelease.asp?ID=143] and vieweing the Web cast, the most notable achievement came from a journalist that I only became familiar with after his death: Ed Bradley.

Bradley and his CBS News 60 Minutes team received one of this year's awards for their coverage of the Duke Lacrosse scandal. Including this award, CBS has earned 12 Peabody Awards throughout their history. Bradley hasn't done so badly either; this is his 6th.

60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager paid his respects in a statement released to TVSpy.com.

"Winning this award is a great tribute to Ed Bradley. It's a reminder of his significant contribution as a correspondent at 60 MINUTES, and his dedication to original and excellent reporting," Fager said. "Right now, Ed would be very proud of his team for the fine work on this story."

The word "tribute" was the most significant to me in this statement. I am now wondering which journalists reporting and working hard now will not only be rewarded with annual Peabody Awards, but also have their name go down in history as the next Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite.

Think about it. Which journalists in TV now are seen in the same light? Murrow and Cronkite are inarguably legends to the world of broadcast journalism. I'm not saying tributes are unheard of, but I can't help but wonder if Ed Bradley may attain the unimaginable status of legendary journalist, positioned adjacent to Murrow and Cronkite.

When I was young, I'd imagine myself in the ranks of journalist legends. I would be known for covering the most important breaking stories in the most creative of ways. But with all the limitations that accompany today's broadcast jouranlism realm, who can compete with the next hard-hitting, gung-ho aspiring journalist.

If I can't fill Murrow's, Cronkite's or now Bradley's shoes, I leave it to my esteemed colleagues with whom I share classroom each weekday to answer my looming question: Who is the next legendary broadcast journalist?

4 Comments:

At Friday, April 06, 2007, Blogger MK said...

I used to catch a little flak for from my friends for seemingly being the only "60 Minutes" viewer under the age of 65. But I love the show and I especially loved watching Ed Bradley. When he passed away last fall, I was riveted by the tribute episode CBS played. I always enjoyed Ed on 60 Minutes but I didn't know a lot about his career. One of the most interesting items in his long history was how he was rewarded by CBS with a job as the White House correspondent after his excellent war coverage in Vietnam. But sitting at White House press conferences everyday didn't satisfy him - so he asked to be transferred out of a job many journalists might see as a dream come true! He wanted meatier stories, with real people, not just politicians. His interviewing style was like a work of art to me and he is surely missed in my living room on Sunday evenings.

 
At Saturday, April 07, 2007, Blogger MW said...

Bradley wasn't just a great journalist, he was a great humanist, and both of those qualities were inseparable. You saw it in his interviews and his reporting. He never tried to push the audience's buttons (that is, manipulate their emotions with the sort of hackneyed methods still common in broadcast), and to borrow some terms from his colleague Mike Wallace, his investigative pieces were more concerned with "light," not "heat." In other words, education and enlightenment meant more than style and grandstanding. He is sorely missed.

I can think of several broadcast journalists I look up to - Charlie Rose, Ted Koppel, etc. - but for the most part, they've been around for a very long time.

I always thought "The Insider" (1999) was possibly the best film ever made on journalism; based on the "60 Minutes"/Brown & Williamson controversy, producer Lowell Bergman is certainly an inspiring character, but I'm a bit skeptical of how he was portrayed. Even if they did romanticize his role and his personality, I don't mind using the film version of Bergman as a personal standard for ethics and professionalism.

 
At Saturday, April 07, 2007, Blogger AJS said...

Two words to answer your question about the next luminary journalist: Keith Olbermann.

The guy is ridiculously versatile, incredibly witty and doesn't pull any punches. Plus, he's halfway there already -- he closes "Countdown" every night with Murrow's famous: "Good night and good luck."

 
At Saturday, April 07, 2007, Blogger ji said...

Well legends are few and far between. But, in my own opinion, I was an avid watcher of Peter Jennings. You don't have anchors anymore who can literally roll up their sleeves at a news desk and still retain authority. Jennings did this on Sept. 11th and I will tell you what---for the first time, I saw a journalist express their true side--uncertainty, fear and helplessness. He had an uncanny ability to put the American public at ease during bad times and was always welcome in my living room each evening. Over time, I do believe other legends will exist, BUT, remember, the GOLDEN AGE of journalism is OVER. The next legend will probably come out of a webcast somewhere and could be your next door neighbor or someone who simply has a camcorder and is documenting life as it goes by.

 

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