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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ed Bradley, CBS News Correspondent (1941-2006) A Tribute to Jouralistic Cool, and Another Reason to Abolish the N-word

Ed Bradley died on Thursday, November 9, 2006 at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. He was 65. Here's a report from Clark Dark, who met Bradley when their journalistic career paths crossed years ago in Washington, D.C. Here is Clark's assessment of this giant of a man in broadcaast journalism.
I met Ed Bradley in the 1970s when he first came to Washington, D.C. We met socially at the home of mutual friends James and Barbara Vance. Vance is a well respected news anchor at the NBC owned and operated station, WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.

Bradley and Vance had been classmates in Pennsylvania at Cheney State Teachers' College, now Cheney State University, just ouside Philadelphia. It was Bradley who helped Vance get his start in radio in Philadelphia. Both men had worked for the Philadelphia school system as teachers in the public schools.

When I met Ed Bradley he had recently arrived in Washington, D.C. to work for CBS covering the White House during the Carter administration. (This was the era of Lem Tucker, Carol Simpson, Bernard Shaw, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Max Robinson, Beverly Williams, and Hal Walker. It was a universal feeling among all of us eagerly doing what we would gladly have done for no pay because we loved the business. We were breaking barriers and making history.) During his stint in Washington, before he moved on to New York, our paths crossed often in the day to day world of the Washington, D.C. political news beat. He was cool even then. Always even tempered. Never mean. He was hard working, bright, clever, objective, and empathetic. Bradley, whom we now know went on to be among the foremost black television journalists, had previously worked as a stringer in Paris for CBS. He later became co-editor for the landmark top-rated program 60 Minutes.Bradley interviewed everyone. He talked with personalities and celebrities as diverse as Lena Horne, Michael Jackson, B.B. King, Howard Stern, Muhammad Ali, Neil Armstrong, Timothy Mc Veigh, Kathleen Willey, as well as the jurors in the Abner Louima case and the security officials for Colorado's Jefferson County where the Columbine High School murders took place.

He was a reporter's reporter. Having run the gamut of covering stories from riots in the city of Philadelphia in the 1960s to the wars in Cambodia and Viet Nam, he was the epitome of an adverturer and he could tell anyone's story. Ed had soul.

Though he did not want the label or wish to be pigeon-holed as being just a "black journalist" Bradley never shirked from his ethnic background. For his work as a broadcast journalist, he won myriad awards, including 19 Emmys and a Lifetime Achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)and accolades from the Radio Television News Directors Association(RTNDA); he even received the Damon Runyon Award .

He appreciated and enjoyed American Jazz--he was the narrator for the radio program "Jazz at Lincoln Center", and even played percussion, the tambourine, with the world famous Neville Brothers on several occasions in New Orleans.

Those of us who had the pleasure of meeting Ed Bradley will fondly remember him as a man of great elegance, class and most of all, as everyone has noted, cool. He is the legendary role model for all who desire to become world-class journalists. He will be missed.

Ed Bradley, another reason to abolish the N-word.

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