TV news giant David Brinkley dies at 82:
- For nearly half a century, Brinkley was one of the dominant faces in American broadcasting, first as a co-anchor of NBC television’s evening news program and later as host of the Sunday current affairs program on ABC, “This Week with David Brinkley.”
Brinkley helped shape American TV news as one of the first journalists to be totally comfortable with the new medium.
Starting at his hometown paper, the Wilmington, North Carolina Star-News, in 1938, his career spanned 11 presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton. In 1943 he joined NBC as a radio news writer in Washington, rising to national prominence with his coverage of the 1956 political conventions.
Along with co-anchor Chet Huntley, “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” ushered in the two-person TV nightly news anchor team with Brinkley in Washington and Huntley in New York. Their signature “Good night, Chet … Good night, David,” became part of America’s consciousness.
CBS stalwart Walter Cronkite, for decades Brinkley’s competitor and friend, said, “It is difficult to believe that we will never again hear his distinctive voice giving us his humorous view of our complicated world.”
NBC anchor Tom Brokaw called him an “icon of modern broadcast journalism, a brilliant writer who could say in a few words what the country needed to hear during times of crisis, tragedy and triumph.”
….Once asked what his legacy to TV news would be, Brinkley told Broadcasting Magazine, “Every news program on the air looks essentially as we started it. We more or less set the form for broadcasting news on television … No one has been able to think of a better way to do it.”
….Brinkley retired among the most highly-honored U.S. journalists, with 10 Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. [Reuters]