Former CNN Chief Anchor Dies at 82


Former CNN chief anchor Bernard Shaw passed away on Wednesday from pneumonia at the age of 82.

“CNN’s beloved anchor and colleague, Bernard Shaw, passed away yesterday at the age of 82. Bernie was a CNN original and was our Washington Anchor when we launched on June 1, 1980,” Chris Licht, CNN Chairman and CEO, said in a statement Thursday, CNN reported.

As the first chief anchor of CNN, Shaw reported on some of the biggest stories of the past 30 years, including the revolt in Tiananmen Square in 1989, the First Gulf War in 1991 (which he covered from Baghdad) and the 2000 presidential election.

Shaw retired after more than 20 years with CNN on Feb. 28, 2001.

The prominent anchor began as a Marine who then got his professional journalism career off the ground in Chicago news radio, the Washington Post reported.

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He then covered Washington for CBS News and reported from Latin America for ABC News. During his time with ABC, he was one of the first journalists on the ground after the infamous Jonestown massacre in Guyana in 1978.

Shaw finally joined CNN at its very start.

“He was our lead anchor for the next twenty years from anchoring coverage of presidential elections to his iconic coverage of the First Gulf War live from Baghdad in 1991. Even after he left CNN, Bernie remained a close member of our CNN family providing our viewers with context about historic events as recently as last year. The condolences of all of us at CNN go out to his wife Linda and his children,” Licth said in his statement about Shaw, CNN reported.

Shaw was widely respected for his reporting and then his trusted coverage as an anchor.

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In 1999 he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. Shaw later received two-lifetime achievement honors from the Edward R. Murrow Awards in 2001 (especially fitting since Murrow was one of Shaw’s heroes) and the National Associate of Black Journalists in 2007, NBC News reported.

Shaw has also been commemorated by many journalists on social media and has been deemed an inspiration to many in the industry.

Poppy Harlow, a current CNN host, tweeted a video tribute for Shaw that featured footage of him throughout the years.

“A beautiful tribute to @CNN legend Bernard Shaw from our friend and colleague @wolfblitzer,” her post read.

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John King, CNN’s Chief National Correspondent and anchor for “Inside Politics,” also tweeted in remembrance of Shaw.

“We have lost a CNN original. A trailblazer and legend, a man of profound talent and endless grace. Soft spoken yet booming voice. A role model and example and mentor to so so many. #RIP Bernard Shaw,” King’s post read.

Funeral services for Shaw will be for family and invited guests only. But a public memorial service is planned for a later time, CNN reported.

“In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Bernard Shaw Scholarship Fund at the University of Chicago. The Shaw family requests complete privacy at this time,” the family said in their statement given by Tom Johnson, the former CNN CEO.

Johnson himself praised Shaw in a statement, saying that he “exemplified excellence in his life” and will be “remembered as a fierce advocate of responsible journalism.”

“As a journalist, he demanded accuracy and fairness in news coverage. He earned the respect of millions of viewers around the world for his integrity and independence,” Johnson added. “He resisted forcefully any lowering of ethical news standards or any compromise of solid news coverage. He always could be trusted as a reporter and as an anchor.”

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