Tom Brokaw (1940- )is a well-respected television news journalist in the United States. Throughout his career, he has received nearly every major award in broadcast journalism, including two DuPont awards, a Peabody award, and several Emmy awards. As a result of his high profile, he is nearly synonomous with the American television network NBC and is a very high profile figure, as evidenced by the fact that in October 2001 he was the target of a bioterrorist mailing which resulted in several cases of anthrax in New York City.
Tom Brokaw was born on February 6, 1940, in South Dakota. Throughout his childhood, he was noted for being quite bright and for a high level of interest in political and world affairs. He got a job in high school with a radio station, giving him his first taste of on-air experience ... and he loved it. He attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City for two years, then transferred to the University of South Dakota, getting a job at the local NBC affiliate, KTIV in Sioux City, in 1961. After graduation, he moved to Omaha, Nebraska, with his wife and began working at the local NBC affiliate there, KMTV, in 1962. He moved on to Atlanta where, in late 1965, he was hired by NBC's news division to work at their Los Angeles flagship station, anchoring the late night news.
This was a major break for Tom, and he took it with vigor. He worked there from 1965 to 1973, covering two presidential elections and countless other news stories at the time. In 1973, pleased with his work, NBC offered him the prestigious job of covering the White House for the network. As a result, Tom wound up seeing a great deal of action during the Watergate scandal, covering it for the network's nightly news. In 1976, Tom was offered the job of host of the network's morning program, the Today show. He held this job until 1982.
In late 1982, Tom was offered the flagship news reporting job on the network, anchor of the evening news telecast. Tom debuted as the host of NBC Nightly News in January 1983, also taking on the job of managing editor. He remains in this position to this day.
In 1992, Tom took on a second job with NBC, becoming a member of the newsmagazine Dateline NBC, which, again, is a position he has remained in to this day. In 1998, he wrote a book entitled The Greatest Generation, which chronicled the lives of people who served during World War II; the book was a massive international success and spawned several spinoff books also written by Brokaw, including The Greatest Generation Speaks and An Album of Memories, which further chronicle that generation.
Throughout his career, Brokaw has been continually recognized as an excellent reporter and has won nearly every major award that a broadcast journalist can win. He has won two DuPont awards for excellence in broadcasting, a Peabody award for excellence in broadcasting, and several Emmy awards for his reporting and editorial talents for NBC News. His factual presentation and notable calm voice and demeanor have made his show regularly the most watched of the network news telecasts of the three major networks.
In October 2001, Brokaw made news as well. A letter addressed to him from what claimed to be a fourth grade class contained a powdered substance carrying the disease anthrax. Several people were exposed to the disease through this letter, with at least one definite case of anthrax among them. This letter was likely sent as a bioterrorist attack due to Brokaw's high standing in the field of broadcast journalism and his large recognition among the American populace.
Brokaw will probably be remembered as a great journalist, an author of books chronicling World War II and the people involved in it, and of a symbol of America in one of its times of trial.