Tom Brokaw
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Tom Brokaw

Tom Brokaw
Tom Brokaw 2015.JPG
Brokaw in 2015
Thomas John Brokaw

(1940-02-06) February 6, 1940 (age 79)
ResidenceLivingston, Montana, U.S.
EducationYankton High School
Alma materUniversity of South Dakota (B.A.)
OccupationTelevision journalist
Years active1960-present
EmployerNBC (1966-present)
Notable credit(s)
Today co-anchor
NBC Nightly News anchor
NBC News Special Correspondent
Meet the Press moderator
Salary$8 million[2]
TermAnchor of NBC Nightly News
PredecessorJohn Chancellor
SuccessorBrian Williams
Meredith Lynn Auld (m. 1962)

Thomas John Brokaw (; born February 6, 1940)[3] is an American television journalist and author, best known for being the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News for 22 years (1982-2004).[4] He is the only person to have hosted all three major NBC News programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and, briefly, Meet the Press. He now serves as a Special Correspondent for NBC News and works on documentaries for other outlets.[5]

Along with competitors Peter Jennings at ABC News and Dan Rather at CBS News, Brokaw was one of the "Big Three" news anchors in the U.S. during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. The three hosted their networks' flagship nightly news programs for over 20 years, and all three started and retired (or died, in Jennings's case) within a year of each other.[6]

Brokaw has also written several books on American history and society in the 20th century. He is the author of The Greatest Generation (1998) and other books and the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

Early life

Brokaw (left) greeting the 20,000th visitor to the Gavins Point Dam in 1958; Brokaw was a tour guide there

Brokaw was born in Webster, South Dakota, the son of Eugenia "Jean" (née Conley; 1917-2011),[7] who worked in sales and as a post-office clerk, and Anthony Orville "Red" Brokaw (1912-1982).[8] He was the eldest of their three sons (Dan and Richard) and named for his maternal great-grandfather, Thomas Conley.

His father was a descendant of Huguenot immigrants Bourgon and Catherine (née Le Fèvre) Broucard, and his mother was Irish-American,[9] although the origin of the name Brokaw is contested.[10] His paternal great-grandfather, Richard P. Brokaw, founded the town of Bristol, South Dakota, and the Brokaw House, a small hotel and the first structure in Bristol.[11]

Brokaw's father was a construction foreman for the Army Corps of Engineers. He worked at the Black Hills Ordnance Depot (BHOD) and helped construct Fort Randall Dam; his job often required the family to resettle throughout South Dakota during Brokaw's early childhood.[12] The Brokaws lived for short periods in Bristol, Igloo (the small residential community of the BHOD), and Pickstown, before settling in Yankton, where Brokaw attended high school.[9][12]

As a high school student attending Yankton Senior High School,[13] Brokaw was governor of South Dakota American Legion Boys State, and in that capacity he accompanied then-South Dakota Governor Joe Foss to New York City for a joint appearance on a TV game show. It was to be the beginning of a long relationship with Foss, whom Brokaw would later feature in his book about World War II veterans, The Greatest Generation. Brokaw also became an Advisory Board member of the Joe Foss Institute.[14]

Brokaw matriculated at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, but dropped out after a year as he apparently failed to keep up in his studies, in his words majoring in "beer and co-eds".[15] He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of South Dakota in 1964.[13]

For several years, Brokaw mountain climbed with the "Do Boys," whose members included Yvon Chouinard and Douglas Tompkins.[16][17]

Broadcasting career

Early years

Brokaw interviewing President Gerald Ford in 1976

Brokaw's television career began at KTIV in Sioux City, Iowa followed by stints at KMTV in Omaha, Nebraska, and WSB-TV in Atlanta,[18] In 1966, he joined NBC News, reporting from Los Angeles and anchoring the 11:00 pm news for KNBC. In 1973, NBC made Brokaw White House correspondent, covering the Watergate scandal, and anchor of the Saturday editions of Nightly News. He became host of NBC's Today Show in 1976 and remained in the job until 1981.

He kept a closely guarded secret for many years, in 2017 Brokaw wrote of having been offered - and having promptly turned down - the press secretary position in the Nixon White House in 1969. While living in California before Nixon made his political comeback, Brokaw had come to know H. R. 'Bob' Haldeman (White House chief of staff and initiator of the offer) as well as Nixon's press secretary, Ron Ziegler, and others members of the White House staff.[19]

NBC Nightly News

Brokaw preparing for a live broadcast in the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

On April 5, 1982, Brokaw began co-anchoring NBC Nightly News from New York with Roger Mudd in Washington. After a year, NBC News president Reuven Frank concluded that the dual-anchor program was not working and selected Brokaw to be sole anchor.[20] The NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw commenced on September 5, 1983. Among other news items, he covered the Challenger disaster[21], EDSA Revolution, Loma Prieta earthquake[22], fall of the Berlin Wall[23] and Hurricane Andrew.[24]

Brokaw scored a major coup when, on November 9, 1989, he was the first English-language broadcast journalist to report the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Brokaw attended a televised press conference organized in East Berlin by Günter Schabowski, press spokesman for East German Politburo, which had just decided to allow its citizens to apply to permanently leave the country through its border with West Germany. When Schabowski was asked when this loosening of regulations would take effect, he glanced through his notes, then said, "sofort, unverzüglich" ("immediately, without delay"), touching off a stampede of East Berliners to the Wall. Brokaw had an interview with Schabowski after the press conference, who repeated his "immediately" statement when pressed. Later that evening Brokaw reported from the west side of Brandenburg Gate on this announcement and pandemonium that had broken out in East Berlin because of it.[25]

As anchor, Brokaw conducted the first one-on-one American television interviews with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He and Katie Couric hosted a prime-time newsmagazine, Now, that aired from 1993-94 before being folded into the multi-night Dateline NBC program.[26]

Also, in 1993, on the first broadcast of Late Show with David Letterman on CBS, in response to David Letterman's monologue containing jokes about NBC, Brokaw walked on stage in a surprise cameo (accompanied by Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra playing the NBC Nightly News theme).[27] He congratulated Letterman on his new show and wished him well, but also stated he was disappointed and shocked; he subsequently walked over to the man holding the cue cards, took two, and remarked, "These last two jokes are the intellectual property of NBC!", leaving the stage afterwards.[27] Letterman then remarked, "Who would have thought you would ever hear the words 'intellectual property' and 'NBC' in the same sentence?"[27]

Brokaw with Vladimir Putin before an interview on June 2, 2000.

On September 11, 2001, Brokaw joined Katie Couric and Matt Lauer around 9:30 a.m., following the live attack on the South Tower of the World Trade Center, and continued to anchor all day, until after midnight. Following the collapse of the second tower, Brokaw observed: "This is war. This is a declaration and an execution of an attack on the United States."[28][29] He continued to anchor coverage to midnight on the following two days. Later that month, a letter containing anthrax was addressed to him as part of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Brokaw was not harmed, but two NBC News employees were infected. In 2008, he testified before the Commission on Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism about the anthrax attacks, publicly discussing his experiences for the first time in a detailed, day-by-day account.[30]

In 2002, NBC announced that Brokaw would retire as anchor of the NBC Nightly News following the 2004 Presidential election, to be succeeded by Brian Williams. Brokaw would remain with NBC News in a part-time capacity from that point onwards, serving as an analyst and anchoring and producing documentary programs. Brokaw closed his final Nightly News broadcast in front of 15.7 million viewers on NBC on December 1, 2004, by saying:

Well the time is here. We've been through a lot together through dark days and nights and seasons of hope and joy. Whatever the story, I had only one objective, to get it right. When I failed, it was personally painful, and there was no greater urgency than course correction. On those occasions, I was grateful for your forbearance and always mindful that your patience and attention didn't come with a lifetime warranty.

I was not alone here, of course. I am simply the most conspicuous part of a large, thoroughly dedicated and professional staff that extends from just beyond these cameras, across the country, and around the world. In too many instances, in places of grave danger and personal hardship and they're family to me.

What have I learned here? More than we have time to recount this evening, but the enduring lessons through the decades are these: it's not the questions that get us in trouble, it's the answers. And just as important, no one person has all the answers.

Just ask a member of the generation that I came to know well, the men and women who came of age in the Great Depression who had great personal sacrifice, saved the world during World War II and returned home to dedicate their lives to improving the nation they had already served so nobly. They weren't perfect, no generation is, but this one left a large and vital legacy of common effort to find common ground here and abroad in which to solve our most vexing problems. They did not give up their personal beliefs and greatest passions, but they never stopped learning from each other and most of all, they did not give up on the idea that we're all in this together, we still are.

And it is in that spirit that I say, thanks, for all that I have learned from you. That's been my richest reward.

That's Nightly News for this Wednesday night. I'm Tom Brokaw. You'll see Brian Williams here tomorrow night, and I'll see you along the way.

By the end of his time as Nightly News anchor, Brokaw was regarded as the most popular news personality in the United States. Nightly News had moved into first place in the Nielsen ratings in late 1996[31] and held on to the spot for the remainder of Brokaw's tenure on the program, placing him ahead of ABC's Peter Jennings and World News Tonight, and CBS's Dan Rather and the CBS Evening News.

Brokaw in 2006 speaking about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Along with Jennings and Rather, Brokaw helped usher in the era of the TV news anchor as a lavishly compensated, globe-trotting star in the 1980s. The magnitude of a news event could be measured by whether Brokaw and his counterparts on the other two networks showed up on the scene. Brokaw's retirement in December 2004, followed by Rather's ouster from the CBS Evening News in March 2005, and Jennings's death in August 2005, brought that era to a close.[32]

After Nightly News

After leaving the anchor chair, Brokaw remained at NBC as Special Correspondent, providing periodic reports for Nightly News. He served as an NBC analyst during the 2008 presidential election campaign[33] and moderated the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain at Belmont University. He reported documentaries for the Discovery Channel and the History Channel and in 2006 delivered one of the eulogies during the state funeral of former President Gerald R. Ford.

On June 13, 2008, when NBC interrupted its regular programming to announce the sudden death of NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert, Brokaw served as the announcer. A week later, NBC announced that Brokaw would serve as host of Meet the Press on an interim basis. He was succeeded by David Gregory in December 2008.

Brokaw serves on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Rescue Committee and the Mayo Clinic. He is also a member of the Howard University School of Communications Board of Visitors and a trustee of the University of South Dakota, the Norton Simon Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the International Rescue Committee. He also provides the voiceover for a University of Iowa advertisement that airs on television during Iowa Hawkeyes athletic events.[34]

In 2011 Brokaw began hosting The Boys in the Hall, a baseball documentary series for Fox Sports Net.[35]

In December 2012, Brokaw starred in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's annual Christmas concert, with live audiences of 84,000. The concert, titled Home for the Holidays, was nationally televised in December 2013.[36]

In April 2014, a new broadcast facility opened on the Universal Studios Hollywood lot, and named in Brokaw's honor as the Brokaw News Center.[37] The facility houses KNBC-TV, Telemundo owned-and-operated station KVEA, and the Los Angeles bureau of NBC News.

On March 11, 2016, Brokaw gave one of the eulogies for former First Lady Nancy Reagan at her funeral. He spoke about his relationship with both the Reagans as a reporter and later anchor.[38]

Personal life

Since 1962, Brokaw has been married to author Meredith Lynn Auld.[39] They have three daughters: Jennifer, Andrea, and Sarah.[40] Brokaw and his wife spend considerable time at their ranch near Livingston, Montana, which they bought in 1989.[41][42]

On September 6, 2012, Brokaw was hospitalized after appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe. He later tweeted that he was "all well" and explained his illness as having accidentally taken half a dose of Ambien in the morning.[43] He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in August 2013 at the Mayo Clinic.[44] Brokaw and his physicians are "very encouraged with his progress".[45] He has continued to work for NBC throughout his treatments. On December 21, 2014, Brokaw announced that his cancer is in full remission.[46][47][48]

In 2018, Brokaw was accused of unwanted sexual advances toward three women; one in 1968 and two in the 1990s.[49][50][51][52] Brokaw denied the allegations.[53][54] In response to the allegations, former colleagues Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Maria Shriver, Kelly O'Donnell, and 64 others, signed a letter characterizing Brokaw as "a man of tremendous decency and integrity".[55]

Career timeline



Brokaw signing a book in Seattle in 2007
  • 1998 The Greatest Generation ISBN 0-375-50202-5 (hardback) ISBN 0-385-33462-1 (paperback) depicting the Americans who came of age during the Great Depression and fought World War II;
  • 1999 The Greatest Generation Speaks ISBN 0-375-50394-3 (hardback) ISBN 0-385-33538-5 (paperback);
  • 2001 An Album of Memories ISBN 0-375-50581-4 (hardback) ISBN 0-375-76041-5 (paperback);
  • 2002 A Long Way from Home: Growing Up in the American Heartland ISBN 0-375-50763-9 (hardback) ISBN 0-375-75935-2 (paperback);
  • 2006 Galen Rowell: A Retrospective ISBN 1-57805-115-0 (hardback) Foreword by Tom Brokaw;
  • 2007 Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today ISBN 1-4000-6457-0 (hardback);
  • 2011 The Time of Our Lives: A Conversation About America ISBN 978-1-4000-6458-8 (hardback);
  • 2013 Christmas from Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber ISBN 978-1-6090-7700-6 (hardback);
  • 2015 A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope ISBN 978-1-4000-6969-9 (hardback) ISBN 978-0804-19500-3 (paperback);
  • 2019 The Fall of Richard Nixon: A Reporter Remembers Watergate ISBN 978-1-4000-6970-5 (hardback) ISBN 978-0-5932-0925-7 (paperback).


Public and industry awards

Honorary degrees

See also


  1. ^ "Tom Brokaw - Council on Foreign Relations". Retrieved 2008.
  2. ^ "Anchor's Pay Package May Change Standards - The New York Times". The New York Times. December 20, 2001.
  3. ^ "Tom Brokaw Biography: News Anchor, Journalist (1940-)". (A&E Networks). Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ Brokaw, Tom. "Tom Brokaw Reflects On Cancer, 'Nightly News' And His 'Lucky Life'". Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "John Glenn College of Public Affairs | Tom Brokaw". Archived from the original on January 30, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ "Anchors could bring new era of network stability". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "Eugenia Conley Brokaw Obituary".
  8. ^ "Tom Brokaw Biography (1940-)". Retrieved 2011.
  9. ^ a b McGuire, John M. (November 6, 2002). "From Yankton to Yankee Town". St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. E1.
  10. ^ "European Origins of the Brokaw -".
  11. ^ Brokaw, Tom. (2003). A Long Way from Home: Growing Up in the American Heartland in the Forties and Fifties, p. 9. New York: Random House.
  12. ^ a b Jordan, Larry (February 1995). "Tom Brokaw: A Heavyweight in a World of Lightweights Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine". Midwest Today.
  13. ^ a b "Tom Brokaw - Biography". Yahoo! TV. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved 2018.
  14. ^ "Our Leadership". Joe Foss Institute. Retrieved 2014.
  15. ^ Munson, Kyle (April 10, 2017). "Tom Brokaw's 'stuff' in Iowa is a window into his life". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ Roberts, Michael (December 1, 2004). "Anchor's Away". Outside. Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ "Lions in Winter: Tom Brokaw Goes to Patagonia". Men's Journal. December 2005. Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ Wishart, David J. (2004). Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. University of Nebraska Press. p. 507. ISBN 9780803247871.
  19. ^ Brokaw, Tom, "The Offer From Nixon I Refused" (opinion), Op-ed, The New York Times, February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  20. ^ Frank, Reuven. Out of Thin Air: The Brief Wonderful Life of Network News (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), pp. 383-84.
  21. ^ Zak, Dan. "Thirty years ago, a TV critic watched the Challenger explosion. This is what he saw". WP Company, LLC. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ Bhattacharjee, Riya. ""It Sounded Like A Bomb Went Off" -- The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake in Pictures". NBC Universal Media, LLC. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ Wheatley, Bill. "How NBC got its '89 Berlin Wall Scoop". NBC Universal. Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ "Acclaimed Journalist Tom Brokaw Reports his Own "Big Ideas" at UT Lecture". Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ "Brokaw reports from the Berlin Wall". NBC NEWS. November 9, 1989. Retrieved 2019.
  26. ^ "Now with Tom Brokaw & Katie Couric". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ a b c Valisno, Patrick Josh (January 1, 2015). "Late Show with David Letterman First Episode (8/30/93)". Retrieved 2017 – via YouTube.
  28. ^ Owen, Rob (September 12, 2001). "Tuned In: This was reality TV at its most horrific". Retrieved 2008.
  29. ^ emscrazy001 (November 21, 2007). "9/11/01 NBC World Trade Center Part 12". Retrieved 2017 – via YouTube.
  30. ^ "Biological Threat Assessment". C-SPAN. Retrieved 2017.
  31. ^ "CBS tops Nielsens 2nd week in row". SF Gate. March 12, 1997.
  32. ^ Donaldson-Evans, Catherine. "Jennings' Death Forces New Look at 'Big 3'". Fox News Network, LLC. Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ "Inside Cable News". Retrieved 2008.
  34. ^ "The University of Iowa, Tom Brokaw, and because each student (and young) with their research should Alt". Online University. Retrieved 2010.[dead link]
  35. ^ Weprin, Alex (May 25, 2011). "Fox Sports Net Orders 'The Boys in the Hall' Baseball Series, Hosted by Tom Brokaw". SportsnNwser. Media Bistro. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  36. ^ "Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw". Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Retrieved 2019.
  37. ^ "NBC names L.A. facility for Brokaw". NewscastStudio. April 29, 2014.
  38. ^
  39. ^ Jackson, Dory (April 27, 2018). "Who is Tom Brokaw's wife, Meredith Auld? News anchor accused of sexual misconduct". Newsweek. Retrieved 2018.
  40. ^ Brokaw, Tom (2003). A Long Way from Home: Growing Up in the American Heartland in the Forties and Fifties. Random House Trade Paperbacks. p. Acknowledgements, x. ISBN 978-0375759352.
  41. ^ O'Keefe, Eric (May 1, 2007). "Tom Brokaw: The Land Report Interview". The Land Report. Retrieved 2017.
  42. ^ Ronnow, Karin (September 17, 2006). "'Big Sky Cooking'". Montana Standard. Retrieved 2011.
  43. ^ "UPDATE: Tom Brokaw Says He's Fine After Hospital Run". Deadline. September 6, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  44. ^ "Tom Brokaw Diagnosed With Cancer, Prognosis Encouraging". NBC News.
  45. ^ Byers, Dylan (February 11, 2014). "NBC's Tom Brokaw diagnosed with cancer". Politico. Retrieved 2014.
  46. ^ "Tom Brokaw: NBC Nightly News Anchorman's Multiple Myeloma Cancer Is In Remission". The Inquisitr News.
  47. ^ Duke, Alan (February 11, 2014). "Tom Brokaw reveals cancer diagnosis; doctors are 'optimistic'". CNN. Retrieved 2014.
  48. ^ Winograd, David (February 11, 2014). "Tom Brokaw Reveals He Has Cancer". Time. Retrieved 2014.
  49. ^ "Two women allege Tom Brokaw acted inappropriately towards them in the 90s". The Hill. April 26, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  50. ^ "NBC News' Tom Brokaw allegedly made several unwanted sexual advances towards women including another anchor". Fox News. April 26, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  51. ^
  52. ^ Reinholz, Mary (May 1, 2018). "Tom Brokaw hit on #MeToo when I was a young reporter". The Villager.
  53. ^ Setoodeh, Elizabeth Wagmeister, Ramin (April 27, 2018). "Tom Brokaw Accused of Sexual Harassment By Former NBC Anchor (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)". Variety. Retrieved 2018.
  54. ^ "Tom Brokaw Rips "Sensational" Accuser Claims: I Was "Ambushed and Then Perp Walked"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018. I am facing a long list of grievances from a former colleague who left NBC News angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom. She has unleashed a torrent of unsubstantiated criticism and attacks on me.
  55. ^ "Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell Back Tom Brokaw in Letter Signed by 64 Insiders". The Hollywood Reporter. April 27, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  56. ^ a b c d e f g h "Tom Brokaw - Nightly News with Brian Williams". June 27, 2008. Archived from the original on April 21, 2004. Retrieved 2008.
  57. ^ "Tom Brokaw Addresses HPU's Class of 2015". High Point University. May 9, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  58. ^ 48th Annual Peabody Awards Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, May 1990.
  59. ^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved 2014.
  60. ^ 63rd Annual Peabody Awards Archived August 21, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, May 2004.
  61. ^ "Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism". Arizona State University. January 29, 2009. Retrieved 2017.
  62. ^ "Brokaw to Vanderbilt grads: Become the next 'greatest generation'".
  63. ^ 73rd Annual Peabody Awards Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, May 2014.
  64. ^ "President Obama Announces the Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients". The White House. November 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  65. ^ Roberts III, Faimon A. (May 11, 2016). "National World War II Museum president and supporters Tom Hanks, Tom Brokaw to receive award in Paris". The New Orleans Advocate. Archived from the original on December 27, 2018.
  66. ^ "One Hundred Sixty Fourth Annual Commencement".
  67. ^ "Tom Brokaw to speak at MSU Feb. 28". Montana State University. Archived from the original on August 5, 2011. Retrieved 2011.

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Barbara Walters and Jim Hartz
Today Co-Anchor with Jane Pauley
June 7, 1976 - December 31, 1981
Succeeded by
Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel
Preceded by
John Chancellor
NBC Nightly News Anchor
April 5, 1982 - December 1, 2004
(co-anchor with Roger Mudd until September 5, 1983)
Succeeded by
Brian Williams
Preceded by
Tim Russert
Meet the Press Moderator
June 29, 2008 - December 7, 2008
Succeeded by
David Gregory

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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