April 21, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw retires after 55-year career

Veteran TV anchor Tom Brokaw, a fixture at NBC News for 55 years, is retiring from the network today.

Brokaw, 80, has made only a few on-air appearances on NBC and its cable news channel MSNBC in recent years, as he has been battling cancer. The former anchor of “NBC Nightly News” — a seat he filled for 22 years — has been a senior correspondent and occasional commentator since 2005.

“During one of the most complex and consequential eras in American history, a new generation of NBC News journalists, producers and technicians is providing America with timely, insightful and critically important information, 24/7,” Brokaw said in a statement announcing the move. “I could not be more proud of them.”

Brokaw was one of the most familiar figures in network TV news for several decades after he emerged as a White House correspondent for NBC News during the Watergate scandal in 1973. He began his NBC career at the Los Angeles bureau of the network, where he covered Ronald Reagan’s gubernatorial campaign and the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

The South Dakota native moved to New York in 1976 when he was named co-anchor of the network’s morning franchise “Today,” where he sat alongside co-host Jane Pauley until 1981. His good looks, ability to handle hard news and celebrity interviews and skill for ad-libbing endlessly on live TV led an executive to give him the nickname “Duncan the Wonder Horse.”

Jessica Savitch, Tom Brokaw, David Brinkley and John Chancellor in a promotional photo for NBC’s 1980 election coverage.

(NBC / Getty Images)

In 1983, Brokaw became the anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.” He vacated the job for Brian Williams in 2005 but remained an authoritative presence at NBC News, hosting documentaries, reporting for the newsmagazine “Dateline” and appearing on the network’s election night and special event coverage.

Brokaw served as moderator of NBC’s Sunday Washington roundtable program “Meet the Press” for several months after the sudden death of Tim Russert in 2008.

Brokaw was the first American journalist to conduct an interview with Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev and was the only American network TV anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.

Brokaw’s legacy was tarnished after former NBC News colleague Linda Vester went public in 2018 with allegations of sexual harassment against the anchor. Vester said Brokaw attempted to kiss her in a hotel room when the two were on assignment for the network in the 1990s. She also said he once showed up at her New York hotel room unannounced in an attempt to start a sexual relationship.

Brokaw denied the incidents and a large number of women employees at the network circulated a letter stating their support for him.