Friday, November 10, 2006

Legends (Ed Bradley)

I use to hear, "there were no positive Black role models on television, or that every Black man depicted was demeaning or stereotypical." Those individuals were clearly away from their television's on Sundays at 7:00 p.m.

Ed Bradley,
the veteran CBS News correspondent, died Thursday of leukemia at the age of 65, CBS reported.

Bradley, who was with the television network for 35 years, was best known for his long tenure as a correspondent for the CBS (nyse: CBS - news - people ) news magazine show 60 Minutes, which he joined in 1981.

In contrast to the confrontational style of his 60 Minutes colleague Mike Wallace, Bradley approached his interviews with sensitivity and empathy, which served him well whether he was speaking with Muhammad Ali, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak or Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who granted Bradley his only TV interview.

A particularly memorable example of Bradley's deft touch was his 1981 interview with Lena Horne, during which the singer opened up about the pain she endured early in her career trying to succeed in a white-dominated entertainment industry.

The interview snared Bradley an Emmy Award, one of 19 he would eventually win. Bradley also garnered the George Foster Peabody Award, the George Polk Award and the Overseas Press Club Award during his career.

Bradley was a native of Philadelphia, where started his broadcasting career in 1963 as a reporter for WDAS Radio, a focal point for the local African-American community.

Last year, the National Association of Black Journalists honored Bradley with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In his acceptance speech, Bradley recalled how much things had changed for minority journalists during his career.

"It doesn’t seem like it was a lifetime ago when we held the first [NABJ] meetings in New York – just a small band of brothers and sisters new to this business of journalism,'' he said. "There weren’t many of us then but we knew we needed to be together…I look around this room tonight and I can see how much our profession has changed and our numbers have grown…All I have to do is turn on the TV and I can see the progress that has been made.”

People know Ed Bradley as a journalist in his 22nd season with the award-winning CBS television news magazine "60 Minutes," and now "60 Minutes II." You've watched him report on diverse subjects, his stories taking him around the country and around the globe. You've watched his salt-and-pepper hair and beard change more to salt over the years, but his distinctive tenor voice stays the same, as does his professionalism.

Some may not know that Bradley, was a longtime jazz fan. Before he embarked on a journalism career that has won him a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Paul White Award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, as well as Emmys and a Peabody Award for his reports on "60 Minutes," he was a jazz disc jockey, back in the day, in Philadelphia, making $1.50 an hour spinning the records of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. That gig, he admits, was done out of joy for the music, while he earned his living by day as a teacher.

His whole life changed when he decided to go into journalism, but his passion for jazz remained, and he got back into radio about a decade ago through his association with Jazz at Lincoln Center, and back into a radio job hosting Jazz from Lincoln Center,

He will be missed

A moment of silence

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