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TV Anchor Walter Cronkite Dies


Walter Cronkite, the broadcast journalist once called "the most trusted man in America", has died late Friday at the age of 92 after a long illness. The longtime television news anchor kept Americans informed about the great news events of the second half of the 20th century.

Walter Cronkite was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri in 1916, attended the University of Texas and left to take a reporting job at a newspaper in Houston. He made a name for himself as a battlefield correspondent for United Press in Europe and North Africa during the Second World War. After the war, he covered the Nuremberg war crimes trials, then served for two years as chief of the United Press bureau in Moscow.

In 1950, another legendary figure in American broadcast journalism, Edward R. Murrow, hired Cronkite for the Columbia Broadcasting System. In 1962, Cronkite took over as anchor on the network's flagship CBS Evening News.

"From our newsroom in Washington, in color, this is the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite."

In November, 1963, Cronkite informed many Americans of the shooting of President John F. Kennedy.

"There has been an attempt, as perhaps you know now, on the life of President Kennedy."

Viewers were riveted to their television sets, and as details of the president's death emerged, Cronkite provided a reassuring voice in a time of national trauma.

Four-and-a-half years later, he informed his audience of the assassination of another leading American.

"Good evening. Dr. Martin Luther King, the apostle of non-violence in the civil rights movement, has been shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee."

At a time when just three networks dominated American television, Walter Cronkite and his evening newscast rose to become number one in the news ratings. Projecting an image of confidence and honesty, he served as the network's key anchor for 19 years, and was named in viewer polls the "most trusted man in America." His nightly sign-off, "and that's the way it is," became a catch-phrase.

In the course of his nightly newscasts, Cronkite covered the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, and Iran hostage crisis. He also produced many news documentaries and anchored special events, including space launches and the moon landing, political conventions, elections and presidential inaugurations.

In 1981, he retired as anchorman from the CBS network at age 65, but continued to do occasional work as a special correspondent.

His many admirers say that Walter Cronkite set high standards of objectivity and balance in the fledgling television news industry.

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