R.I.P. Ed Bradley

9 Nov

Ed Bradley: 1941-2006

I actually had some things in hip-hop that I was going to talk about in today’s entry. But something more important than the latest exclusive song, beef or record leak happened today. My prayers go out to the family; he’s had a huge influence on anyone who has seen work, and as a journalist, I mourn the loss of such a brilliant reporter. My little brother, an aspiring journalist himself, met him last summer, and he spoke glowingly about him as well. No links, plugs, or drama today; just a moment of reverence.

Legendary CBS journalist Ed Bradley has died of leukemia. The 65-year-old correspondent had been reporting for CBS since 1967, and was a key member of the 60 Minutes reporting team.

Longtime friend and former 60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt hired Bradley to be part of the pioneering news magazine’s team for the 1981 season, and he remained a key part of the show’s roster of reporters almost to the end of his life.

“He was going in and out of illness” toward the end, Hewitt says. For his last reports for the show, Bradley, normally a fit and athletic person, appeared gaunt and weakened.

Bradley was one of the few African-American journalists in such a high-profile position at the time he was hired to work for 60 Minutes. In a speech Hewitt gave to a racially mixed crowd, introducing Ed Bradley for a journalism award, the producer toyed with the crowd’s sensitivities about Bradley’s race.

“I said to the crowd: ‘I hired Ed Bradley because he’s a member of a minority,'” Hewitt says. And after a pause, hearing some in the crowd gasp in surprise, Hewitt went on: “He’s a great gentleman and a great reporter. And if that ain’t a minority, I don’t know one.”

Hewitt added that Bradley always came across as being fair-minded and sympathetic to those he spoke with on-camera.

“I don’t think anybody came away from an Ed Bradley interview thinking he’d been had,” Hewitt said.

And as for the earring in Ed Bradley’s left earlobe — an uncommon personal statement for such a high-profile broadcast journalist — Hewitt says it was just part of Bradley’s personality.

“That was the rugged individualist side of him,” he says. “I think it was sort of a trademark.”


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