The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Opinion

July 25, 2009

Larry Smith: Cronkite set standards for journalists

For baby boomers and the generation who came before us, the passing of Walter Cronkite marks the end of an era.

Cronkite, who lived 92 busy years, died Friday. As a reporter and television news anchor, he set a standard in journalism many of us still try to achieve today.

He started as a wire service reporter, putting himself in harm’s way during World War II to be sure the American public back home knew the facts of a particular situation, not just the version handed out by official spokesmen.

He believed journalists should inform, not necessarily entertain, the public. That often meant digging deep into issues and learning through personal experience. He was a television personality without makeup or an expensive haircut.

When television news was still toddling along, he became a familiar face. Recruited by Edward R. Murrow — another journalistic icon for whom the truth was the ultimate goal — Cronkite established himself on CBS as the source for information.

That was during the time when there were only three networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — and all used veteran print journalists in their news operations. David Brinkley at NBC and Howard K. Smith at ABC all put value in good reporting.

But it was Cronkite who became the one everyone looked to for information and illumination.

Even the youngest of us boomers can remember him behind the anchor desk, reading the news.

When John F. President Kennedy was assassinated, Cronkite led his network’s coverage for hours. When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon — a date 40 years ago Monday — Cronkite reacted like a a school boy, almost giddy with excitement.

Cronkite’s influence extended all the way into the White House. In 1968, after a reporting trip to Vietnam where he stayed with troops who saw battle, Cronkite added a personal observation at the end of a television special. In a rare expression of his own views, he said he thought the best policy for the United States would be to get out of Vietnam.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Fire calls Firefighters responded to the following calls: Thursday, 7:44-7:55 a.m. -- Medical call in the unit block of East Harrison Street. Thursday, 11:16-11:27 a.m. -- Medical call in the 2900 block of North Vermilion Street. Thursday, 12:21-12:27 p.m. -- M

    February 2, 2014

  • Newspaper remains strong

    The Commercial-News recently undertook two major changes.
    First, we went from a seven-day publishing cycle to a six-day publishing cycle, eliminating the Monday Commercial-News.

    November 13, 2011

  • Our pages take on a new look

    Today marks a new day for the Commercial-News.
    Today’s edition looks different than yesterday’s, and we hope you find it easier to read and more pleasing to the eye. Allow me to give a little background on the reason for the change.

    September 18, 2011

  • Greet spring with a nature hike

    Every year, hundreds — maybe thousands — of people drive a few miles north of Covington to visit the beautiful and unique “North Trail” at the Portland Arch Nature Preserve.

    April 11, 2010

  • Better to let sleeping ancestors lie

    How many genealogists does it take to change a light bulb?

    March 28, 2010

  • Don't delay decisions about care In many instances, full treatment is provided even when these measures are futile. In the instance of maintaining life sustaining treatments when they are futile, the cost is even greater than a monetary value. At some point, the quality of life needs to outweigh the quantity. With a terminal diagnosis, treatments to extend life incur a great cost to suffering for the patient and for the family of the patient.

    February 27, 2010

  • State rules on side of citizens

    February 21, 2010

  • Health reform must help everyone I know that as you read this, many of you are going to disagree with me. That’s OK, but that’s also the problem.

    December 5, 2009

  • Build a better community

    September 27, 2009

  • Comments: Two men killed in attempted home invasion

    September 23, 2009

E-edition
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Must Read