Longtime NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, once the most popular broadcaster in television news as he told viewers about the biggest events of that late 20th Century, said Friday that he’s retiring from television.
Brokaw, who is 80, said he will continue to be active in print journalism, writing books and articles. He’s the already the author of The Greatest Generation — about those who fought in the Second World War — among other books.
In a final essay that appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Dec. 30, Brokaw hinted at his announcement by reflecting on a career that took him from breaking into a local newscast in Nebraska and announcing the death of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, to covering the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“For me, it’s been an amazing journey — 57 years as a reporter,” Brokaw said.
Fifty-five of those years were at NBC News, starting as a reporter in Los Angeles in the 1960s, covering the White House during the Nixon administration, hosting the Today show in the late 1970s and more than 20 years as Nightly News anchor.
For two decades, the triumvirate of Brokaw, ABC’s Peter Jennings and CBS’ Dan Rather were the nation’s most visible broadcasters, anchoring major stories like the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
After leaving Nightly News in 2004, Brokaw concentrated primarily on historical programming and commentary during big, national moments like elections.
For health reasons, his appearances have been more sporadic lately. In 2013, Brokaw was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer that affects the bone marrow. He did not return a message seeking comment on Friday.
“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,” Brokaw said in a statement announcing his retirement. “I could not be more proud of them.”