Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite makes right

Walter Cronkite died today at the age of 92 from Cerebrovascular disease. In life, he had been a newsman of the highest quality. He was quite literally a boyscout, once voted the most trusted man in America. Like many newsmen of his generation, Walter Cronkite began in radio.

He was a student at the University of Texas Austin branch. He was an unpaid copy-boy for the Houston Post Newspaper. He eventually became a paid campus correspondent and began doing a 5-minute sportscast on KNOW-AM, the campus radio station. In 1935 Cronkite quit college and his newspaper job for a position at the 100 watt KCMO-AM in Kansas City. There he was a sports announcer under the name "Walter Wilcox". It was at KCMO he met his future wife, Betsy.

He entered broadcasting as a sports announcer for WKY in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was PD Gayle Grubb that took him off sportscasting. At the end of an OU football game he told Cronkite "Walter, you better go find yourself another profession." He moved over to the news desk there within a year and never looked back.

He joined United Press in 1937 and became a member of "the writing 69th" crew of reporters. He was dispatched to London in World War II. These broadcasts were carried in the U.S. and on Radio Free Europe. He flew on a bombing mission, and eventually became the a chief correspondent at the Nuremberg trials. After WWII he spent two years managing the United Press Moscow bureau. In 190 he accepted a position at CBS News working out of WTOP-TV in Washington D.C.