During Ed Bradley’s 25 seasons with CBS’s 60 Minutes, he earned 20 Emmy awards for investigative pieces that included a riveting report on the reopening of the 50-year-old Emmett Till murder case. The long-revered network trailblazer, who was the first black correspondent at the White House, passed away on Nov. 9, 2006, at the age of 65.
Bradley joined CBS News in September 1971 as a stringer and went on to report several of the most historically significant segments of his lifetime. The brutal murder of Till, a 14-year-old African American, in Mississippi, mobilized the civil rights movement after the two white suspects were acquitted. In the groundbreaking report, Bradley discovered that more than a dozen people may have been involved in the murder.
“His storytelling was excellent,” says Bob Butler, a former CBS executive based in San Francisco.
Bradley’s legacy continues to speak volumes to many aspiring black journalists. “He developed a level of trust among his audience that changed the atmosphere for those who followed. He provided a model of excellence,” says Michele Norris, host of the National Public Radio show All Things Considered.
In 2005, Bradley was the recipient of the National Association of Black Journalists Lifetime Achievement Award. Bryan Monroe, president of NABJ and vice president and editorial director for Ebony and Jet magazines, says Bradley’s interviews had a rhythm of their own. “His love for jazz really infected his journalism. He’d be prepared, but just like a jazz musician, he would be open to improvisation.”