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Looking Back at Cronkite

I just heard confirmation about the death of Walter Cronkite, longtime anchor of the CBS evening news, who is credited with changing the face of television news. Trying to think about what Cronkite might mean to adults of my generation who were not yet born when he began to make his mark, I decided to look back at some of his clips on You Tube.

As a reporter who has grown up during the CNN, 24-hour television news generation, Cronkite's newcasts can seem a bit staid, sometimes bland. However, some of his more famous newscasts, such as covering the assasination of President John F. Kennedy and the first landing of man on the moon, have a bit of spontaneous, heartfelt emotion.

Cronkite became more revered that he would have liked. He wanted to just report the news, cover the facts and bring Americans a truthful story. He felt his fame sometimes interfered with his ability to cover politics.

"I get off the bus in some small town and the crowd is around me rather than the candidate," he once said. "Not only is it embarrassing, it gets in the way of working. Instead of getting the crowd's reaction to the candidate, I'm dealing with the crowd's reaction to me."

He always insisted that he has "no desire to be a pundit, just a journeyman editor-reporter really after the facts.."

I am not sure some of the current newscasters would share his same sentiment. Doesn't it seem today everyone wants to be a star?

Below is the newscast of Walter Cronkite reporting on the assassination of President Kennedy. Fast forward to 4:40 and you can see where Cronkite gets slightly choked up and takes a moment after confirming JFK's death.

By Lauren Wiseman |  July 17, 2009; 8:50 PM ET
Previous: Cronkite, Out of Character | Next: Video: Three Classic Cronkite Broadcasts

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