Sunday 25 February 2018

TV news 'legend' killed in crash

Veteran TV newsman Bob Simon has died in a car crash in Manhattan (Invision/AP)
Veteran TV newsman Bob Simon has died in a car crash in Manhattan (Invision/AP)

Shocked colleagues have paid tribute to award-winning veteran TV journalist Bob Simon, who was killed in a car crash.

The long-time CBS 60 Minutes correspondent, who was famously held captive for more than a month during the first Gulf War, was pronounced dead at hospital after the tragic incident in Manhattan.

Simon, 73, was a passenger in a car which collided with another vehicle, police said.

He was among a handful of elite journalists to cover most major overseas conflicts and news stories since the late 1960s. His assignments included the Vietnam War and the Oscar-nominated movie Selma, in a career spanning five decades.

He had been contributing to 60 Minutes on a regular basis since 1996 and was also a correspondent for 60 Minutes II.

Anderson Cooper, who presents occasional stories for 60 Minutes, fought back tears talking about Simon's death. He said when Simon presented a 60 Minutes story, "you knew it was going to be something special".

"I dreamed of being, and still hope to be, a quarter of the writer that Bob Simon is and has been," the CNN anchor said. "Bob Simon was a legend in my opinion. He was someone I was intimidated by."

Simon won numerous awards, including his fourth Peabody and an Emmy for his story from Central Africa on the world's only all-black symphony in 2012. Another story about an orchestra in Paraguay, one whose poor members constructed their instruments from rubbish, won him his 27th Emmy, perhaps the most held by a journalist for field reporting, CBS said.

He also captured electronic journalism's highest honour, the Alfred I duPont-Columbia University Award, for Shame Of Srebrenica, a 60 Minutes II report on genocide during the Bosnian War.

Simon joined CBS News in 1967 as a reporter and assignment editor, covering campus unrest and inner-city riots. He also worked in CBS' Tel Aviv bureau from 1977 to 1981 and in Washington DC as its US Department of State correspondent.

His career in war reporting began in Vietnam and he was on one of the last helicopters out of Saigon when the US withdrew in 1975.

At the outset of the Gulf War in January 1991, Simon was captured by Iraqi forces near the Saudi-Kuwaiti border. He and the other three members of CBS News' coverage team spent 40 days in Iraqi prisons, an experience Simon wrote about in his book Forty Days. He returned to Baghdad in January 1993 to cover the American bombing of Iraq.

Bronx-born Simon graduated from Brandeis University in 1962 with a degree in history. He leaves a wife and daughter, who is a producer for 0 6 Minutes in New York.

Press Association

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