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Posted at 1:40 PM ET, 03/ 9/2011

On David Broder

By Chris Cillizza

The death of David Broder is a loss of massive proportion for journalism and for anyone who cares about politics.

That Broder, a political reporter and columnist at the Washington Post since 1966, defined what it means to be a political reporter for several generations of aspiring journalists is obvious. That his loss will be felt not only in the Post newsroom but in newsrooms throughout the country goes without saying.

So, rather than reflect broadly on what Broder meant to journalism, I thought it made sense to reflect on what the Dean -- as he was known by political reporters everywhere -- meant to me.

From my first moments in the Post newsroom, I was awed by the office -- cluttered with notebooks, newspapers, books and the various other scraps of information gleaned from a reporting life -- that Broder occupied. (When visitors would file through the Post newsroom, Broder's office was the highlight of the tour as people gaped at the spot where he did his journalism.)

When the man himself first made his way over to my desk to tell me that he liked something I had written, I was beyond thrilled.

But, the moment I will always remember about the Dean came in January 2008. I was in Iowa, trudging through the snow and ice to make my way to an event at the Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines and cursing the fact that the nation's first in the nation caucuses happened to be in a state where the temperature rarely got out of single digits in the winter.

I looked across the street and saw Broder -- at that point in his late 70s -- trudging toward the same place. We caught eyes and he yelled out "Hello, Chris" in an impossibly cheery voice.

That was David Broder. A man who had been to thousands of political events in Iowa but was excited about going to one more. A man whose curiosity and intensity about politics shined through to anyone who met him. A man who was never too big to listen to the thoughts of a junior reporter like me. A man whose kindness and open-mindedness sent the tone in the Post newsroom for decades.

I count myself lucky to have spent time talking to and working alongside David. He is the standard to which all political reporters aspire. And he will be missed.

By Chris Cillizza  | March 9, 2011; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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