Remembering a role model
My heart skipped a beat when I heard about the death of legendary newsman Ed Bradley. To me, Bradley represented the best of broadcast journalism. He was a gifted correspondent - a fair man who could ask the tough questions. He had an uncanny ability to get people to open up. His compassion came through time and time again.
I think people, even when they were subject to difficult questions, felt "safe" with Mr. Bradley. His integrity came across loud and clear. He never gave me the impression that he considered himself a big shot. But he had an incredible sense of style when it came to his appearance. He looked fabulous in suits. He looked fabulous in active wear at a sporting event. He wore an earring in his left ear. He loved jazz. To me, he was the essence of cool.
I got the sense that this correspondent was a deep thinker who never forgot he came from the tough streets of Philadelphia. '60 Minutes' correspondent Steve Kroft said that his colleague "walked with the people." I think we saw that in Mr. Bradley's reports.
Ed Bradley was versatile and had great presence. He was a talented and fearless war correspondent. We listened intently as he covered White House news. He seemed to enjoy seemingly quiet moments as he talked with superstars such as Aretha Franklin and Muhammad Ali. His interview with condemned Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh gave us the opportunity to see McVeigh as a human being, not just a homegrown terrorist.
I learned something new about Mr. Bradley that I didn't know before. He had a degree in education. Prior to starting his career in television news, he taught sixth grade.
Perhaps we should not be surprised that as a broadcast journalist, he was considered by his peers to be the ultimate storyteller. He earned 19 Emmys during his distinguished career, including one for the McVeigh report. This reporter and anchor, who was among the first wave of African Americans to break into network television news, was honored last year with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
At CBS, Mr. Bradley's nickname was Easy Ed. This brilliant newsman will be missed.