Friday, November 10, 2006

Remembering Ed Bradley

Photo courtesy of Ed Bradley - Wikipedia. Read permissions.

I was saddened by reports like this one by New York Times' Jacques Steinberg:

Ed Bradley, a pioneering black journalist who was a fixture in American living rooms on Sunday nights for more than a quarter century on “60 Minutes,” died today. He was 65.

- SOURCE: - Ed Bradley, Veteran CBS Newsman, Dies (November 9, 2006)

Edward Rudolph "Ed" Bradley, Jr. (June 22, 1941 - November 9, 2006) died from complications associated with a form of cancer called lymphocytic leukemia. He was my hero. Watching the MSN video: Remembering Ed Bradley explains, briefly, why.

The rest of the world admired the veteran newsman, too. The multi-talented man made numerous contributions to society and his profession. And on and off camera, "Big Daddy" was serious when called for, and at other times displayed a passionate joie de vivre.

Ed Bradley's accomplishments earned numerous honorable distinctions. Two awards had special meaning, as described in this excerpt from New York Times - Ed Bradley, Veteran CBS Newsman, Dies. (The bold type is mine)

Last fall, the National Association of Black Journalists honored Mr. Bradley, who was among the first wave of African Americans to break into network television news, with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I grew up in Philadelphia rather protected from life in the South,” Mr. Bradley said at the association’s awards ceremony in Washington. “Emmitt Till and I were the same age when he was killed, and that was my introduction to the reality of life in this country for a black person in the mid 50’s. When we were awarded an Emmy earlier this year for this story, I said it was the most important Emmy I had ever received. I would say the same thing about your recognition tonight.”

Another award in the same vein was a 2004 Broadcast Excellence Award for Coverage of Race and Ethnicity. The prize-winning CBS, 60 Minutes piece in that case, was: "Alice Coles of Bayview."

I was in attendance when Columbia Journalism School presented the award to the teacher-cum radio personality-cum TV correspondent. The venue was a three-day, Ford Foundation-sponsored, "Let's Do It Better!" workshop for outstanding journalists and media gatekeepers. I was thrilled to participate, and even more thrilled to meet my media idol.

My affinity for Ed Bradley extended beyond his work on television. We shared many interests (although his shoes were far bigger than mine). Both of us have worked in education, advocated for civil rights, enjoyed stimulating conversation and good music, and began broadcasting (professionally) on radio.

Ed Bradley, after earning countless kudos and 19 emmies, broadcasting for 25 years on 60 minutes and living 65 years on earth, has moved onward and surely upward. However, the mark he made is larger-than-life and fond memories will be everlasting.