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South Dakota native Tom Brokaw retires from NBC News after 55-year career

Brokaw has been at NBC News since 1966

Brokaw file 2014.jpg
In this June 2014 file photo, Tom Brokaw speaks before a dedication ceremony for a new museum in Pickstown. (Mitchell Republic photo)

NEW YORK — South Dakota native Tom Brokaw announced Friday he is retiring from NBC News after 55 years with the network.

Brokaw, 80, leaves the network as the only anchor to have helmed all three NBC News flagship programs: Today, Nightly News and Meet the Press.

“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. I could not be more proud of them,” Brokaw said in a press release.

Brokaw’s South Dakota ties run deep. He was born in Webster in 1940, grew up in Pickstown while his father worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the building of the Fort Randall Dam and graduated high school from Yankton. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1964 and joined NBC News two years later.

Brokaw has spent his entire journalism career with NBC News beginning in the Los Angeles Bureau where he covered Ronald Reagan’s first run for public office, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 presidential campaign. In 1973, he moved to the nation’s capital as the NBC News White House correspondent during Watergate, a position he held until 1976 when he started co-hosting Today. In 1983, he became the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, leading the team there for 22 years. He also served as moderator of Meet the Press in the immediate aftermath of the death of Tim Russert in 2008.

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Brokaw was the first American journalist to conduct an interview with Mikhail Gorbachev and was the only American network anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down, which earned him The Order of Merit from the German government.

Brokaw has won a number of prestigious journalism awards, including Peabodys, Duponts, Emmys and The Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting. In 2016, Brokaw was awarded the coveted Legion of Honor by the French government for his continuing work and advocacy on issues facing veterans and preserving the legacy of “The Greatest Generation.” In 2014, Brokaw was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, the highest civilian award given to those who make “meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Brokaw’s first book, The Greatest Generation, is one of the most popular nonfiction books of the 20th century, and the term has become a widely used title for those who lived through the Great Depression and fought in WW2.

NBC said Brokaw will continue to be active in print journalism, authoring books and articles, and spend time with his wife, Meredith, three daughters and grandchildren.

Related Topics: TELEVISIONSOUTH DAKOTA
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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