Sunday, July 19, 2009

Walter Cronkite: The voice that spoke for America

BBC broadcaster and a former Washington correspondent Edward Stourton, writing in the Daily Telegraph, pays tribute to Walter Cronkite who has died aged 92.

"Walter Cronkite stood for everything that drew my generation to television in the 1970s. More than anyone else, he symbolised the power of broadcast news; his career had demonstrated why television mattered, and why we thought evolving technology could have a moral purpose. It was an irony of this extraordinary successful life that he long outlived the golden age of the media he did so much to mould.

He came to television with his journalistic voice well formed; he had flown over Germany on an American bomber, covered the D-Day landing, and parachuted in to the Netherlands for Operation Market Garden; it was the kind of reporting pedigree that was bound to leave him with a strong sense of the seriousness of journalism.

But it was his manner as much as anything else that matched him so well with television, and he moved to CBS in the 1950s. He was a master of the small gesture, which worked so well in the intimate, living-room relationship between the news anchor and his audience. The way he removed his glasses for emphasis – without a hint of theatricality – and let his feelings show as he announced the death of President Kennedy in 1963 said just as much as his words. So, too, did the excited lapses into uncharacteristic inarticulate exclamation as he watched man's first steps on the Moon: 'Man on the Moon. Oh boy! Phew. Boy!'"

For the full stiry, please click on the title.

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