February 9, 2006
The name Reuven Frank may not mean much to you, but if you have watched broadcast news during the last forty years, you experienced his influence without knowing it.
Reuven, who died Sunday night at age 85 was twice president of NBC news while I was there. He created the Huntley-Brinkley report, teaming two men who were made for television and for each other. No other pairing ever reached the level that Huntley and Brinkley did.
More than personalities, though, was Reuven’s extraordinary talent for story telling. He admonished his journalists – and we were all journalists then, or wanted to be – to communicate to the audience as if they were telling an unfolding story.
One doesn’t always get to work for a pioneer in any business, but Reuven Frank has been described as one of the founding fathers of broadcast journalism. If you have an interest in these things, read his book “Out of Thin Air” and then consider what passes for journalism on the broadcast and cable networks today. And then lament the passing of a great broadcast journalist.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.