Tom Brokaw


Tom Brokaw Biography

Thomas John "Tom" Brokaw (born February 6, 1940) is an American television journalist and author best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004. He is the author of The Greatest Generation (1998) and other books and the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He is the only person to host all three major NBC News programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and, briefly, Meet the Press. He now serves as a Special Correspondent for NBC News and works on documentaries for other outlets.

Early life

Brokaw was born in Webster, South Dakota, the son of Eugenia "Jean" (nee Conley, 1917-2011), who worked in sales and as a post-office clerk, and Anthony Orville "Red" Brokaw (1912-1982). He was the eldest of their three sons and was named after his maternal great-grandfather, Thomas Conley. His father was a descendant of Huguenot immigrants Bourgon and Catherine (nee Le Fèvre) Broucard, and his mother was Irish-American. His paternal great-grandfather, Richard P. Brokaw, founded the town of Bristol, South Dakota, and the Brokaw House, a small hotel and the first structure in Bristol.

Brokaw's father was a construction foreman for the Army Corps of Engineers. He worked at the Black Hills Ordnance Depot (BHOD) and helped construct Fort Randall Dam; his job often required the family to resettle during Brokaw's early childhood. The Brokaws lived for short periods in Bristol, Igloo (the small residential community of the BHOD), and Pickstown, before settling in Yankton, where Brokaw attended high school.

As a high school student attending Yankton Senior High School, Brokaw was governor of South Dakota American Legion Boys State, and in that capacity he accompanied then South Dakota Governor Joe Foss to New York City for a joint appearance on a TV game show. It was to be the beginning of a long relationship with Foss, whom Brokaw would later feature in his book about World War II veterans, The Greatest Generation.

Tom Brokaw dropped out of The University of Iowa, where he says he majored in "beer and co-eds" before receiving his B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion in 1964.

Broadcasting career

Early years

Brokaw's television career began at KTIV in Sioux City, Iowa, followed by stints at KMTV in Omaha, Nebraska and WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1966, he joined NBC News, reporting from California and anchoring the 11 p.m. news for KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. In 1973, NBC made Brokaw White House correspondent, covering the Watergate scandal, and anchor of the Saturday editions of Nightly News. He became host of NBC's Today Show in 1976 and remained in the job until 1982.

Nightly News

On April 5, 1982, Brokaw began co-anchoring NBC Nightly News from New York with Roger Mudd in Washington. After a year, NBC News president Reuven Frank concluded that the dual-anchor program was not working and selected Brokaw to be sole anchor. The NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw commenced on September 5, 1983.

Among other news items, he covered the Challenger disaster, EDSA Revolution, Loma Prieta earthquake, fall of the Berlin Wall and Hurricane Andrew.

As anchor, Brokaw conducted the first one-on-one American television interviews with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was the only network anchor in Berlin when the Berlin Wall fell. He and Katie Couric hosted a prime-time newsmagazine, Now, that aired from 1993"94 before being folded into the multi-night Dateline NBC program.

On September 11, 2001, Brokaw joined Katie Couric and Matt Lauer around 9:30 a.m., following the live attack on the South Tower of the World Trade Center, and continued to anchor all day, until after midnight. Following collapse of the second tower, Brokaw observed:

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He continued to anchor coverage to midnight on the following two days. Later that month, a letter containing anthrax was addressed to him as part of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Brokaw was not harmed, but two NBC News employees were infected. In 2008, he testified before the Commission on Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism about the anthrax attacks, publicly discussing his experiences for the first time in a detailed, day-by-day account.

In 2002, NBC announced that Brokaw would retire as anchor of the NBC Nightly News following the 2004 Presidential election, to be succeeded by Brian Williams. Brokaw would remain with NBC News in a part-time capacity through 2014, serving as an analyst and anchoring and producing documentary programs.

Brokaw closed his final Nightly News broadcast in front of 15.7 million viewers on NBC on December 1, 2004, by saying:

By the end of his time as Nightly News anchor, Brokaw was regarded as the most popular news personality in the United States. Nightly News had moved into first place in the Nielsen ratings in late 1996 and held on to the spot for the remainder of Brokaw's tenure on the program, placing him ahead of ABC's Peter Jennings and World News Tonight and CBS's Dan Rather and the CBS Evening News

Along with Jennings and Rather, Brokaw helped usher in the era of the TV news anchor as a lavishly compensated, globe-trotting star in the 1980s. The magnitude of a news event could be measured by whether Brokaw and his counterparts on the other two networks showed up on the scene. Brokaw's retirement in December 2004, followed by Rather's ouster from the CBS Evening News in March 2005, and Jennings's death in August 2005, brought that era to a close.

After Nightly News

After leaving the anchor chair, Brokaw remained at NBC as Special Correspondent, providing periodic reports for Nightly News. He served as an NBC analyst during the 2008 presidential election campaign and moderated the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain at Belmont University. He reported documentaries for the Discovery Channel and the History Channel and in 2006 delivered one of the eulogies during the state funeral of former President Gerald R. Ford.

On June 13, 2008, when NBC interrupted its regular programming to announce the sudden death of NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert, Brokaw served as the announcer. A week later, NBC announced that Brokaw would serve as host of Meet the Press on an interim basis. He was succeeded by David Gregory in December 2008.

Brokaw serves on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the International Rescue Committee. He is also a member of the Howard University School of Communications Board of Visitors and a trustee of the University of South Dakota, the Norton Simon Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the International Rescue Committee. He also provides the voiceover for a University of Iowa advertisement that airs on television during Iowa Hawkeyes athletic events.

On May 29, 2011, Brokaw began hosting The Boys in the Hall, a baseball documentary series for Fox Sports Net.

In December 2012, Brokaw starred in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's annual Christmas concert, with live audiences of 84,000 and a nationally televised broadcast titled Home for the Holidays.

Personal life

He has been married to Meredith Lynn Auld (a former Miss South Dakota and author) since 1962. They have three daughters, Jennifer Jean, Andrea Brooks and Sarah Auld and five grandchildren. Brokaw and his wife spend considerable time at his ranch on the West Boulder River near Livingston, Montana, that he bought in 1989.

On September 6, 2012, Brokaw was hospitalized after appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe. He later tweeted that he was "All well" and explained his illness as having accidentally taken half a dose of Ambien in the morning.

Career timeline

  • 1962"1965: KMTV-TV Reporter;
  • 1965: Anchor of WSB-TV late-evening news;
  • 1966"1972: NBC News West Coast correspondent and KNBC anchor;
  • 1973"1976: White House correspondent and Saturday anchor of NBC Nightly News;
  • 1976"1981: Today Show host;
  • 1982"1983: NBC Nightly News co-anchor;
  • 1983"2004: NBC Nightly News anchor;
  • 2004"present: Special Correspondent for NBC News;
  • 2008: Meet the Press moderator (interim);
  • 2011: Northwestern Mutual Annual Meeting Opening Session Speech
  • 2012 Vanderbilt University and Arizona State University Commencement Speeches.
  • 2013 Loyola University New Orleans Commencement Speech

Books

  • 1998 The Greatest Generation ISBN 0-375-50202-5 (hardback) ISBN 0-385-33462-1 (paperback) Depicts the Americans who came of age during the Great Depression and fought World War II.
  • 1999 The Greatest Generation Speaks ISBN 0-375-50394-3 (hardback) ISBN 0-385-33538-5 (paperback)
  • 2001 An Album of Memories ISBN 0-375-50581-4 (hardback) ISBN 0-375-76041-5 (paperback)
  • 2002 A Long Way from Home: Growing Up in the American Heartland ISBN 0-375-50763-9 (hardback) ISBN 0-375-75935-2 (paperback)
  • 2006 Galen Rowell: A Retrospective ISBN 1-57805-115-0 (hardback) Foreword by Tom Brokaw
  • 2007 Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today ISBN 1-4000-6457-0 (hardback)
  • 2011 The Time of Our Lives: A conversation about America ISBN 978-1-4000-6458-8 (hardback)

Awards

Public and industry awards

  • Peabody Award for a report called To Be An American
  • Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for excellence in broadcast journalism for Dateline NBC documentary special, Why Can't We Live Together on hidden realities of racial separation in suburban America
  • Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcast journalism for his interview with Mikhail Gorbachev
  • seven Emmy Awards including one for China in Crisis special report
  • 1990 National Headliner Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews for advancing the understanding of religion, race and ethnicity.
  • 1992 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media presented by the Freedom Forum
  • 1993 Emmy award for reporting on floods in the Midwest
  • 1995 Dennis Kauff Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism from Boston University
  • 1995 Lowell Thomas Award from Marist College.
  • 1997 University of Missouri School of Journalism Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism
  • 1997 inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame
  • 1998 Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, a tribute to those "individuals whose broadcast career reflects a consistent devotion to freedom of speech and the principles embodied in the First Amendment."
  • 1998 American Legion award for distinguished public service in the field of communication.
  • 1998 Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America's President's Award recognizing "devotion to helping young people through scholarships."
  • 1999 Congressional Medal of Honor Society's "Tex" McCrary Excellence in Journalism Award
  • 1999 Emmy award for international coverage of the Kosovo conflict
  • 2005 Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 2005 Four Freedoms Medal: Freedom of Speech And Expression
  • 2006 Washington State University Edward R. Murrow School of Communications Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting Award
  • 2006 Sylvanus Thayer Award: United States Military Academy at West Point
  • 2006 Walter Cronkite Award for Journalism Excellence at Arizona State University
  • 2007 Horatio Alger Award for overcoming adversity to achieve success through the American free enterprise system from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Inc.
  • 2011 Charles Osgood Lifetime Achievement Award in Broadcast Journalism from WFUV (90.7 FM).
  • 2012 The Nichols-Chancellor's Medal awarded by Vanderbilt University
  • 2012 Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award awarded at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Honorary degrees

  • Air University (United States Air Force)
  • Arizona State University
  • Boston College
  • Brandeis University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • The College of William & Mary
  • Dartmouth College
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Fairfield University
  • Fordham University
  • Florida State University
  • John Carroll University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Montana State University
  • Mayo Clinic and the College of Medicine
  • Northwestern University
  • Providence College
  • Saint Anselm College
  • Seton Hall University
  • Skidmore College
  • St. Lawrence University
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Montana
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of South Dakota
  • University of South Carolina
  • Washington University in St. Louis



This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tom_Brokaw" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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