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Obits

NBC News Digital Pioneer Bert Medley Has Died

BertMedleyBert Medley, who started the “Today” show’s American Story in 1975, and who would later be one of the pioneers of digital media, died last night at the age of 69. Medley and “Today” correspondent Bob Dotson were a team for 9 years. It was Medley’s fascination with evolving broadcast technology that helped lay the groundwork for the digital media we have today.

In 1995 NBC was the first broadcaster to go online and one of the first news organizations to produce original journalism on the internet. The NBC Supernet, as it was called, was absorbed by the partnership between NBC News and Microsoft. Medley then directed news coverage for the new MSNBC.com. It was his final assignment at NBC, where he spent 33 years.

Medley died after a battle with cancer. His funeral service will be held at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan.

Joe McGinniss, Author of ‘The Selling of the President,’ Has Died

JoeMcGinnissAuthor Joe McGinniss has died.

McGinniss wrote the New York Times bestseller, “The Selling of the President,” an inside look at the 1968 presidential campaign of Richard Nixon and the team Nixon assembled to improve his image. On that team, a young Roger Ailes, now chairman of Fox News.

Ailes, who knew McGinniss for almost 50 years, said in a statement today: “Joe McGinniss will be remembered as a talented man. He changed political writing forever in 1968. We differed on many things, but he had a good heart. My prayers are with his family.”

Later, McGinniss wrote the true crime thriller “Fatal Vision.” The 1983 book was developed into a 1984 NBC mini-series. In 2011, he published “The Rogue,” a biography of Sarah Palin. During the writing of the book, McGinnis, in an effort to get a closer look at the 2008 GOP VP nominee, rented a house next door to Palin’s in Wasilla, Alaska.

McGinniss, 71, died Monday following complications related to prostate cancer.

Bill McLaughlin, Longtime CBS News Correspondent, Dies

47526_2_BMcLaughlinCBSm Bill McLaughlin, an award-winning diplomatic and foreign correspondent who headed bureaus in Germany and Lebanon for CBS News in the late 1960s and ‘70s died Friday morning. He was 76 and lived in France. McLaughlin died from cardiac arrest in a Connecticut hospital. He was visiting friends in the U.S.

McLaughlin’s television news career spanned 27 years, nearly all of it with CBS News; he left for two years in 1979 to report for NBC News at the United Nations.

McLaughlin joined CBS News as a reporter in 1966 in Paris. He was named bureau chief in Bonn, West Germany in 1968. He served there until being sent to cover the Vietnam War in 1969. In 1971, he was named bureau chief in Beirut, from which he covered conflicts in the Middle East, including the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.  His coverage of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics won an Overseas Press Club award.

From 1983 to 1993, when he left CBS news, he was a State Department correspondent, and general assignment reporter in the Washington Bureau.

Besides his wife, the former Huguette Cord’homme, whom he met while on assignment in Paris, he also leaves behind a son, Liam, and daughter-in-law Joslyn, of New York City; a granddaughter and a stepson in Paris, Julien Bodard.

Garrick Utley Has Died

GarrickUtleyLongtime NBC Newsman Garrick Utley has died following a long battle with cancer.

Utley, who was 74, joined NBC News as a researcher in Europe for the Huntley-Brinkley Report. He would later become a foreign correspondent reporting from around the world.

“Garrick was the first of our generation to crack the starting line-up of NBC News in the glory days of Huntley-Brinkley,” Tom Brokaw writes in a note to his NBC News colleague. “He was NBC’s first Saigon bureau chief and, later, ran our London and Paris bureaus before returning home to anchor a weekly magazine show and serve as fill-in anchor for John Chancellor on ‘Nightly.’”

For a time, Utley also moderated “Meet the Press” and the Sunday “Today” show.

“Garrick embodied the history of NBC News for most of the latter half of the 20th Century and he will be greatly missed,” Brokaw writes.

He is survived by his wife Gertje, a brother Jonathon and sister-in-law Carol Marin, a longtime anchor and reporter at NBC station WMAQ.

(Photo: Syracuse University)

BBC Anchor Komla Dumor Has Died

komladumorBBC anchor Komla Dumor, a rising star of the World News network, has died from a heart attack.

Dumor, just 41 years old, anchored what would be his final newscast last night. Very active on Twitter and Facebook, Dumor was a presenter on the daily programs “World News” (airing at MidnightET) and “Focus on Africa,” a primetime program for African viewers broadcast worldwide.  Before those shows, he anchored the weekly business magazine “Africa Business Report.”

Dumor, who was born in Ghana, joined the BBC as a radio broadcaster in 2007 after a decade of journalism in Ghana.

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama wrote on Twitter that his country had “lost one of its finest ambassadors.”

BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks called Dumor “a leading light of African journalism.” Dumor’s sudden death has itself been news on the BBC today.

Remembering Jessica Savitch, 30 Years After Her Death

SavitchJessicaIn the early 1980s, with cable in its infancy and network anchors dominating the airwaves, one of the most identifiable, and beloved, was NBC’s Jessica Savitch.

A pioneering woman in broadcasting, Savitch was only 30 when, in 1977, fresh from local TV news jobs in Philadelphia and Houston, NBC News hired her to cover Congress.  Savitch went on to be the first woman to anchor a weekend newscast for NBC, and perhaps was best known for her highly-visible primetime ’news capsule’ updates. Her rocky personal life made headlines too.

But it all came to an end on a rainy autumn night in 1983, when the car Savitch was in plunged into a Bucks County, Pennsylvania canal, killing her and the car’s driver, 34-year-old Martin Fischbein, a vice president at the New York Post.

As we approach the thirtieth anniversary of that day – October 23 – TVNewser reached out to friends, family, and colleagues for their memories of Jessica Savitch, who was just 36 when she died.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “Jessica Savitch was a warm-hearted, caring person and a pioneer in broadcasting who lost her life tragically just as she was soaring to new  heights. She was my friend at KYW in Philadelphia and my office mate at NBC in Washington. I was privileged to know her and mourn her loss, along with friends and family, so many years later.”

Former KYW Co-Anchor Mort Crim, who delivered the eulogy at Savitch’s funeral: “Her untimely passing was a loss to me, personally, and to the world of TV journalism. I’ve worked with many talented people, but none who could surpass Jess for a combination of ability, sensitivity and drive…An agent for Will Farrell contacted me a few weeks ago as Anchorman II was nearing completion to remind me that Jess and I had been the inspiration for the first Anchorman movie…Jess was 25 years old when we first shared an anchor desk.  But the years fly by swiftly and she would now be 65, something I can hardly believe. I still miss her.”

NBC’s Tom Brokaw: “It was such a sad, even tragic ending, to a life that was the classic American success story. Jessica had a wide following of admirers, first in Philadelphia and then on the network – and just when she seemed to have found personal happiness, the untimely end.”

After the jump, thoughts from Sue Simmons, Fred Francis, and Linda Ellerbee…plus Lori Savitch on the journalism scholarships that honor her sister thirty years later.

Read more

‘Today’ Superfan Linny Boyette Dies At 71

“Today” superfan Linny Boyette has died of complications from a heart attack at age 71. He was described as “gravely ill” by Al Roker late last week.

A staple on Rockefeller Plaza, Boyette was known not only be the entire “Today” team of anchors, producers and crew, but by fans as well, many of whom came early to stand next to him on the plaza. Boyette received a full obituary from “Today” this morning, looking back on his 20+ year history with the program, and his past in the U.S. military.

WATCH:

Lee Thornton, First African American Woman to Cover the White House for TV, Has Died

LeeThorntonLee Thornton, a former CNN and CBS correspondent, has died.

Thornton, who died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer, was the first African American woman to cover a regular White House beat for one of the big three broadcast networks, at CBS News. Thornton joined CBS in New York in 1974, before moving to Washington where she worked alongside Lesley Stahl and Ed Bradley. She was named White House correspondent in 1977 where she would remain for four years.

In 1982 she moved to NPR where she was the first African American woman to host the weekend edition of “All Things Considered.” She returned to TV joining CNN in 1992.

In 1997, following her years as a journalist, Thornton turned to teaching a new generation of reporters, anchors, producers and writers. She joined the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland where she also produced several programs for the college. Thornton (above, center) was interim dean of the college in 2008-09. Recently, she had been serving as Interim Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity for the university. In 2011 she was named the University of Maryland’s “Outstanding Woman of the Year.”

(Photo: University of Maryland)

Sir David Frost Dies At 74

Sir David Frost, a satirist turned interviewer whose newsmaking interviews with Richard Nixon made international headlines, has died of a heart attack at age 74.

According to the BBC, Frost suffered from the apparent heart attack following a speech on the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth.

Frost, as host of “This Was The Week That Was,” served as something of a predecessor to comedians like Jon Stewart, so far as he was mocking the news. “The Frost Programme” for ITV and “The David Frost Show” for Westinghouse Broadcasting in the U.S. paved the way for more serious interviews. Frost hosted an interview program for Al Jazeera English until his death.

It was Frost’s series of interviews with Richard Nixon in 1977 that made him internationally known for his interview skills. The interviews garnered record ratings in the U.S. and abroad, and had Nixon acknowledging some of the things he did as President that sparked his resignation. The interviews sparked a play and later a film, “Frost/Nixon.”

More from his obituaries in the BBC and Al Jazeera.

Funeral Held For Sky News Camera Operator and ‘true warrior of television news’ Mick Deane

A funeral service for Sky News camera operator Mick Deane was held yesterday at the London Film Museum. Deane was shot and killed in Cairo, Egypt earlier this month, while covering the violence there between the security forces and Muslim Brotherhood protesters.

Sky News has more on the services.

Sky News presenter Jeremy Thompson described Mr Deane as “one of the warmest, kindest, bravest and funniest of all men.

He added: “Mick died as he lived – doing his level best. Doing his best to open the eyes of the world to injustice. Doing his best for his mates. Doing his best to get that story on air, whatever the pressures.

“He was, I think, a true warrior of television news.”

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