RIP, Bruce Morton

RIP, Bruce Morton September 5, 2014

The forest has lost another redwood.  A great broadcast writer has died: 

Bruce Morton, former CBS News and CNN correspondent, died at his home in Washington, DC Thursday. Morton, a Harvard graduate and U.S. Army Veteran, joined ABC News in 1962. He left for CBS News two years later where he would stay for 29 years. For most of that time, Morton was a congressional correspondent, but also anchored the “CBS Morning News” from 1974 to 1977. After leaving CBS in 1993, Morton went to work for CNN as national correspondent. He retired in 2006.

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Morton is survived by his son Alec and daughter Sarah, who also worked in TV news. Sarah Morton spent 18 years at CBS News as a producer. Bruce Morton was 83.

More: CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist sent a note to staff about Morton’s passing: “Bruce was an original member of the famed ‘Boys on the Bus,’ and could share campaign trail war stories with his colleagues and our viewers like nobody else.”

I have sad news to report about a beloved member of the CNN family. Our long-time National Correspondent, Bruce Morton, passed away on Thursday. He was 83.

All of us who worked with Bruce knew him to be a reporter’s reporter; a man who cared deeply about journalism, politics and people. Bruce could tell a story like no other, as he effortlessly weaved facts, emotion and history into every one of his news stories. A story about a Senate race might be full of references to Lyndon Johnson, Richard Russell, or even Daniel Webster. Bruce understood the importance of historical context. Without exception each of his stories was unique and brilliantly written. Simply put, Bruce was a modern day news poet.

If you want a classic example, give two minutes of your day to hear this: a beautifully crafted report on the route that would be taken by Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral procession.  Click the arrow below.

Listen here.  

I worked with Bruce during my days at CBS News in Washington. He pounded out scripts on an old manual typewriter, and dropped them on my desk to be sent to New York. Day in and day out, the result was typically flawless. Lean sentences, short words: he wrote for the voice and the ear, and the scripts always sounded like they were spoken, not written. I can’t remember a producer ever changing a syllable. He was just that good.

They don’t make them like him anymore.

Rest in peace.


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