I wasn’t going to post anything about Walter Cronkite as I don’t have any really interesting oversight – but I’ve ironically found some of the “official” reportage shallow.
Instead I urge you to do the following:
1. Read Howard Bernstein‘s remembrance – it covers not just Cronkite, but sets the stage for what the television news was during the 60s and 70s. What it meant and to how many (Bernstein doesn’t point out this is a double-edged sword – while the modern news landscape is absolutely harder for the production of quality television journalism, it’s also a system with fewer individual egos and opinions as choking points).
2. Watch the following five minute clip of the newscast of the JFK assisnation. Not just the bullet points or the catch-phrases that modern audiences are used to seeing julianned up in documentaries or television specials – but of what news was like at the time. When I think of Walter Cronkite I always think of those few seconds around 5:18 (after he announces the time) where for a few moments you get the sense of the burden on a single man tasked with interpreting a nonsensical world for a nation.
Imagine if all the favourite journalists, columnists, editorialists, bloggers, and talking heads of everyone you know was the same person. That person was Walter Cronkite. Godspeed.