John Palmer Famed NBC News Reporter Dies, Tom Brokaw Heartbroken

The journalism industry mourns

john palmer, nbc, tom brokaw

With an easy-going personality, a hardworking delivery and ability to connect- John Palmer, 77,  touched the lives of many. The famed, long-time NBC News reporter passed away Saturday. Tom Brokaw took to Twitter to share his grief at the passing of a dear friend, “God bless John Palmer, tireless reporter, always a gentleman, loving husband and doting father.” The death to Brokaw was, “heartbreaking.”

While Palmer retired officially in 2002, he swept the airwaves from 1962 to 1990. He returned to NBC and worked from 1994 to his retirement in 2002. He was an integral part of the “Today” show family. While his manner of delivering news was no-nonsense, it helped the ratings. Watchers liked his attitude about avoiding frill and delivering intelligently delivered facts.

Palmer and Brokaw bounced ideas together, teased one another and had a brotherly love over the last 50 years of their lives. This measure of connection beamed through their combined 30 minute special, when Brokaw hosted the 2008 “Encore with John Palmer.” Their palpable ability to connect and share stories were evident. Saying good-bye to a friend who has joined you in happiness and sadness, breaks the heart of the other when one passes.

It was Palmer’s grieving wife, Nancy, who broke the news of her husband passing at George Washington University Hospital. Journalism is enriched within his life, marriage and daughters. Nancy and Palmer met one another on the set of NBC Nightly News, their respect for one another and understanding of the field created a path of love to one another. The couple have three daughters together. One is the “Today” producer, Molly Palmer Cowan. One of his other daughters is also pursuing a career in journalism, the other works in the entertainment industry. A fabric of Palmer left in his loved ones and their fever for the industry.

Palmer was a legacy to anyone in journalism. He delivered impeccable interviews with individuals like Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat, legendary medical researcher Jonas Salk and Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Journalists from around the world reacted to the news of Palmer dying, taking to their social media accounts to remark on the talent, the kindness and professionalism of Palmer:

  • Dan Balz of the Washington Posts called Palmer “a terrific journalist” and a “very good man.”
  • Deborah Norville who replaced Palmer tweeted about the character of the long-time journalist calling him, “kind, welcoming (and) helpful to me years ago.”
  • Mark Knoller from CBS fondly remember Palmber calling him a, “great gentleman and a great reporter.”
  • Jared Keller, who formerly worked for Bloomberg confirmed the personality Palmer truly was: There was no one in the news business kinder than John Palmer,” Keller tweeted, “No one.”

NBC released their own statement after Brokaw shared his grief about losing a dear friend who worked alongside him in an industry that truly has changed the way media and television exists:

“John was a brilliant, brave, and tireless journalist who guided viewers through many of the most significant events of the past half-century – from the early days of the civil rights movement through the tragedy of 9/11,” NBC News said in a statement. “He covered five presidents and traveled to every corner of the world, always showing the empathy and compassion that helped set him apart. His kindness is remembered by all of us, and it built lasting bonds throughout our news division. “

Rest in peace. John Palmer, 77, long-time famed reporter of NBC, husband to wife Nancy, doting father of three daughters and best friend of Tom Brokaw, died last night from  pulmonary fibrosis.

Angelina Bouc

Sources 1, 2

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