Remembering Eric Sevareid
Eric Sevareid, who died of cancer July 9 at the age of 79, was a broadcast journalist from an era when words carried weight. ”I don’t know very much about your experience, but I like the way you write and I like your ideas,” Edward R. Murrow told Sevareid when the legendary CBS journalist hired the 27-year-old newspaperman from Velva, N.D. As one of radio’s famed ”Murrow’s Boys,” Sevareid broke the news of France’s impending surrender to Germany in World War II.
As a correspondent and commentator for CBS for 38 years, Sevareid could make words soar, especially in the graceful television essays that became his trademark. One of his ”self-imposed” rules, he said in one essay, was ”to retain the courage of one’s doubts as well as one’s convictions in this world of dangerously passionate certainties.” (Read his 1946 autobiography, Not So Wild a Dream, for a sense of his spare style). Retired from CBS in 1977, Sevareid hunted and fished — while colleagues treated him with awe and Americans showed him a sweetly American kind of affection: He became a pop icon, a symbol of journalistic excellence from that distant time before satellite photos and videos made into afterthoughts.