Thoughts on Tim Russert

Joe Gandelman calls Tim Russert’s passing “the end of an era”:

Anyone with any news background or passion for traditional news reporting has to feel a special sharp stab to their hearts today with the news that NBC’s Tim Russert — one of the early 21st century’s towering news figures and a journalistic descendant of 20th century journalism greats — died suddenly of a heart attack while on the job at the NBC News bureau at age 58. It’s a day they will remember with tremendous sadness.

To those of us who are old enough to remember, there were similar days of sadness when news figures passed away or passed from the working news scene. When CBS’s Edward R. Murrow died of lung cancer in 1965 many wondered whether it was the end of an era. It was. When CBS forced Walter Cronkite’s retirement in 1981 many wondered whether it was the end of an era. It was.

Will this be the end of yet another era? He may not have been completely appreciated when he was alive, but in fact Russert was one of the last giant figures in journalism with broad-based credibility. And although there are some similar news people with great potential, his particular kind of working journalist isn’t easy to find.

Also, if you’re looking for a roundup of reaction to Russert’s death, Joe’s is quite comprehensive.

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