Cronkite, Walter

Cronkite, Walter

(Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr.) (krŏng`kīt, krŏn`–), 1916–2009, American news broadcaster, b. St. Joseph, Mo. He left (1935) the Univ. of Texas to write for the Houston Press and later for other Scripps-Howard newspapers and to work in radio. After joining the United Press wire service in 1939 he served as a World War II correspondent (1942–45) and was a reporter at the Nuremberg trials and in Moscow (1946–48). He then left print journalism to again work in radio broadcasting.

In 1950 he turned to the new medium of television, joining the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), where he covered (1952) the first televised presidential nominating conventions. A decade later he was named managing editor and anchor of the "The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite," which became American television's dominant evening news program. Calm and authoritative, he became a national institution, and in 1973 was voted America's most trusted public figure. He was especially known for his coverage of such events as the 1968 Democratic convention; the Vietnam War; the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.; the Watergate affair, and the accomplishments of the American space program. In 1981 he stepped down as news anchor and became a special correspondent for CBS News; he subsequently made several documentaries and also did programs for other networks. His books include Challenges of Change (1971) and a memoir (1996).

Bibliography

See his Conversations with Cronkite (with D. Carleton, 2010); biography by D. Brinkley (2012).

Cronkite, Walter (Leland, Jr.)

(1916–  ) television journalist; born in St. Joseph, Mo. Raised in Houston, Texas, he decided to become a journalist after reading a magazine article about a foreign correspondent. He left the University of Texas to work for the Houston Post in 1935, later working for Midwestern radio stations. During World War II, he covered the European front for United Press and served as chief United Press correspondent at the Nuremberg trials. Joining Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) News in 1950, he worked on a variety of programs, and covered national political conventions and elections from 1952 to 1981. He helped inaugurate the CBS Evening News in 1962, and anchored it until his 1981 retirement; "And that's the way it is" was his nightly closing epithet. The hallmarks of his style were honesty, objectivity and level-headedness; identified in public opinion polls as the man Americans most trusted, he provided a voice of reason during the Vietnam and Watergate eras. After retiring, he hosted CBS's Universe (1982), coproduced Why in the World (1981) for Public Broadcasting System, and hosted Dinosaur (1991) for Arts and Entertainment Cable television.