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Obits

Joan Rivers Funeral: ‘I Have Never Seen Anything Like It’

KathieLeeHodaBarbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Charlie Rose, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Hoda Kotb were among the TV newsers at yesterday’s funeral for Joan Rivers.

“I have never seen anything like it — full of love, full of laughter,” said Rose on “CBS This Morning. “Inside Edition” host Deborah Norville, who’s been friends with Rivers for 25 years, delivered a eulogy. On “Good Morning America” Norville told Robin Roberts, “The woman I knew was hilariously funny. An incredible practical joker. She was kind to the core and there through thick and thin.”

Said Gifford on “Today,” “I think it was the perfect combination between the profane and the sacred. Because Joan was like that. We all know the profane part of Joan, but there was a sacred part as well.”

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Bruce Morton Has Died

brucemortonBruce Morton, former CBS News and CNN correspondent, died at his home in Washington, DC this morning after a battle with cancer. Morton, a Harvard graduate and U.S. Army Veteran, joined ABC News in 1962. He left for CBS News two years later where he would stay for 29 years. For most of that time, Morton was a congressional correspondent, but also anchored the “CBS Morning News” from 1974 to 1977. After leaving CBS in 1993, Morton went to work for CNN as national correspondent. He retired in 2006.

Morton is survived by his son Alec and daughter Sarah, who also worked in TV news. Sarah Morton spent 18 years at CBS News as a producer. Bruce Morton was 83.

More: CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist sent a note to staff about Morton’s passing: “Bruce was an original member of the famed ‘Boys on the Bus,’ and could share campaign trail war stories with his colleagues and our viewers like nobody else.”

More: CBS’s obituary on Morton, also after the jump…

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Joan Rivers Has Died. ‘Her Greatest Joy Was to Make People Laugh’

JoanRiversFNCComedian Joan Rivers has died. The news came from Rivers’ daughter, Melissa just before 3pmET.

Rivers, who was 81, stopped breathing while undergoing outpatient surgery in New York City a week ago today. She was rushed Mount Sinai Hospital and put on life support. Just yesterday, Melissa Rivers announced that her mother had been “moved out of intensive care and into a private room where she is being kept comfortable.” Melissa Rivers released this statement this afternoon:

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17pm surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother.

Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated.

My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.

Fox News and CNN have been in near non-stop coverage since 3pmET. Several New York local stations broke in with coverage.

Barbara Walters issued a statement about her friend: “No one loved life, laughter, and a good time more than Joan. We would have dinner and laugh and gossip and I always left the table smiling. She was a brassy, often outrageous, and hilarious performer who made millions laugh. In private, she was the picture of elegance and class. I will miss her.”

CNN Photojournalist Dies. Sarmad Qaseera Captured Indelible Images From Iraq War

Sarmad Qaseera, a CNN photojournalist first in Iraq and for the last 8 years in the U.S, died suddenly Monday. Qaseera was behind the camera of some of the most memorable images on CNN in the last 10 years, especially during the war in Iraq. In 2006, following death threats in his own country, Qaseera fled to the U.S. working out of Atlanta, but still traveling the globe for CNN. Last year, Qaseera and correspondent Arwa Damon received the Investigative Reporters and Editors medal for their coverage of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Qaseera was just 42. Hala Gorani has more on Qaseera’s accomplishments:

Fox News Radio White House Correspondent Mike Majchrowitz Dies

MacMike Majchrowitz, Fox News Radio’s White House Correspondent, died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was 51.

Majchrowitz joined FNC Radio during its early days in 2005. Called “Mac” by colleagues, he traveled the world covering presidential trips and also anchored FNC Radio’s coverage of elections, conventions, and debates. Majchrowitz covered the 2012 presidential campaign and election while battling cancer.

“Mike was an original – a solidly tenacious reporter, a thoughtful anchor and a good man,” Mitch Davis, VP of Fox News Radio, said in a statement.  ”He earned the respect of his colleagues for many things, not the least of which was his kindness. From our earliest days he helped Fox News Radio grow into what we are now. His voice was unique, as was his courage. Throughout his struggle, he remained positive and was an inspiration to us all. We will miss him.”

Majchrowitz started his career in the mid 1980s as a local radio anchor and reporter, shifting over to the political beat in the 1990s as a Washington Correspondent at Conus TV and Cox Television. Majchrowitz is survived by his wife and three children. His funeral will be held on Friday September 5 at 11amET at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Virginia. Here’s a montage of Mac’s reporting on Fox News Radio.

Dr. Drew on Media Coverage of Depression: ‘Stop Thinking About It As a Sensitive Topic’

Dr-Drew-Pinsky_t580Celebrity deaths — especially the sudden kind — often produce wall-to-wall coverage on TV news, but the root causes behind these tragedies don’t always get the coverage many think is needed.

As Robin Williamssuicide has taken over TV news this week, the not often talked about issue of depression has been thrust to the forefront on many networks. And one cable news host with expertise on the subject has a message for TV news talent and journalists.

“Stop thinking about it as a sensitive topic,” Dr. Drew Pinsky told TVNewser in an interview this afternoon. “Think of it like a topic like any other medical condition, like a cardiac problem, or a lung problem; it just happens to affect the brain.”

“It’s disturbing to me we talk about things like inner demons, which, for God’s sake, is sort of a language that comes out of the Middle Ages. They’re not inner demons; it’s a brain state precipitated by complicated interactions with the environment and it’s a biology that has a medical treatment.”

The coverage has surprised Dr. Drew in another way. “Michael Jackson [death] for some reason didn’t create an ongoing conversation about addiction and pharmaceutical drugs and drug abuse. Somehow, the joy Robin Williams brought us, and the love that everyone feels for him, and the body shot we’ve all taken hearing about his demise, has really given people permission to talk about depression.”

Shepard Smith Explains Use of the Word ‘Coward’ During Robin Williams Coverage

The hours-long cable news coverage of the death of Robin Williams last night included some reporting, and much eulogizing. And as often happens during unscripted live TV news coverage, the words used are interpreted in different ways.

Case in point: Shepard Smith. At the end of his hour-long special, the Fox News anchor read a quote from the late actor/comedian about his children. Smith then surmised: “They’re inspiring you and exciting you and they fill you up with the kind of joy you could never have known. But something inside you is so horrible, or you’re such a coward, or whatever the reason, that you decide you have to end it. Robin Williams, at 63, did that today.”

Smith was immediately criticized for using the word “coward.”

“The last thing I would ever suggest about a man I know nothing about personally, is that he’s a coward,” Smith tells TVNewser. “That goes against everything I am. If those words, I used so innocently, offended his family, from the bottom of my heart, I could not be more sorry.”

Nischelle TurnerOver on CNN, entertainment reporter Nischelle Turner got some pushback for using the word “demons” when describing Robin Williams’ mental state. She apologized on air.

“I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from the mental health community in using that word,” Turner said. “A lot of times when we’re doing live coverage we say things and we’re talking and we don’t realize what we’re saying. They’re absolutely correct. That it is a disease, so I apologize for using the word demons.”

ABC News also got some social media pushback for promoting a live feed of aerials of Williams’ home on ABCNews.com.

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Robin Williams Dead at Age 63

RobinWilliamsThe death of Robin Williams has taken over as the lead story on cable news. Williams took his own life this morning at his home near Tiburon, CA in Marin County. He was pronounced dead at 12:02pmPT. The official cause of death is asphyxia. The actor and comedian had been battling severe depression, his representative said in a statement.

The news broke just before 7pmET. CBS News anchor Scott Pelley reported the news at 6:58pmET at the end of “CBS Evening News.” CBS produced special reports at 7:04 and 7:22. Fox News’s Ed Henry, sitting in for Bret Baier, also reported the news at 6:58. CNN reported the story at 7:06. Don Lemon, filling in for Erin Burnett, then went into rolling coverage. MSNBC’s Richard Lui broke in to “Hardball” at 7:16pm.

ABC News’s David Muir anchored a special report at 7:13pm and NBC’s Brian Williams anchored a special at 7:14. All three evening newscasts will update for the leads of their west coast editions at 8:30pmET.

More: Shepard Smith will pre-empt “Hannity” at 10pm for a Fox News special on Robin Williams; ABC’s “Nightline” will devote tonight’s show to Robin Williams, and there will be a special edition of “20/20″ tomorrow night at 10pm, anchored by David Muir.

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Longtime CBS News Political Editor Dotty Lynch Dies

Dotty Lynch AU SOCDotty Lynch, a polling pioneer who served as CBS News political editor from 1985 to 2005, died yesterday after a yearlong battle with cancer. “Dotty was a rare combination of book smart, street smart, and incredibly funny,” deputy Washington bureau chief Ward Sloane wrote in a memo to staff today:

She led us through some remarkable times and elections. I like to think that Dotty was digital before digital was cool – she re-created and formatted The CBS News Campaign Directory in 1992. Those of you who had one will never forget it. It was a pocket sized book that had every phone number of every official any political reporter or producer could want. It was the envy of the road, many reported outright theft by competitors or being begged for a copy.

She also had an eye for talent – that rare ability to see not just what a person could offer today, but also to see what they could become. Here are a few examples of the researchers Dotty hired: FACE THE NATION Executive Producer Mary Hager and FACE THE NATION Senior Producer Rob Hendin, both were also CBS EVENING NEWS White House producers; Steve Chaggaris, who ran political coverage in 2008 and now edits CBSNews.com in Washington and Kia Baskerville, who is a special events producer and talent scout.

Sloane’s full note is after the jump. Read more

Ed Joyce, Former CBS News Pres., Has Died

cbsnews130Ed Joyce, who climbed the ladder at CBS News for nearly three decades, reaching the pinnacle as president of CBS News in 1983, has died.

Joyce’s short, two-year tenure as president of the news division was chronicled in his memoir Prime Times, Bad Times. When the memoir was published in 1988 The New York Times wrote, “The view from within CBS – a la Ed Joyce – is not pretty. What he shows us is hypocrisy, paranoia and ego, and on a corporate level too: ‘an era of junk bonds and debt/equity ratios endangering [the] legacy’ of network news.”

Joyce’s first TV jobs were in Utica and Schenectady, New York. We would move on to CBS Radio in Chicago and, later, New York where he hosted a daily talk show. He moved in to news production and management, first at CBS’s local stations in Chicago and Los Angeles, before returning to New York in 1981 as executive vice-president of CBS News and elevated to president two years later.

Joyce’s son Randall Joyce is a producer for “60 Minutes.”

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