Former ABC News President Elmer Lower Dies at 98

By Alex Weprin Comment

Elmer Lower (Holding magazine)

Former ABC News president Elmer Lower, who led the company’s news division from 1963-1974, died yesterday at age 98.

Lower, who worked for all three broadcast news divisions, oversaw the expansion of ABC News from 250 employees to more than 750, and switched the evening newscast from a 15 minute format to a 30 minute one.

As ABC News president Ben Sherwood notes in a memo to staff, also hired some familiar faces, including Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Frank Reynolds and Sam Donaldson.

You can read more about Lower in Sherwood’s memo, after the jump.

From: Sherwood, Ben
Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 4:43 PM
Subject: Elmer Lower

With sadness I’m writing to share that former ABC News President Elmer Lower died today in Vero Beach, Florida at age 98. He was surrounded by family.

In 1963, Elmer was named president of ABC News. He ran the organization until 1974.

A television pioneer who worked for all three broadcast networks, Elmer helped turn ABC News into a force in journalism by hiring some of the best in the business including Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Frank Reynolds and Sam Donaldson. Under his leadership, the news division staff grew from 250 to 750 employees and the evening news expanded from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.

Elmer retired from news in 1978 and started a career in teaching where he educated young journalists for more than two decades.

In 1975, Elmer was honored with a lifetime achievement Emmy award as well as the Paul White Award, which is the Radio-Television News Director Association’s highest honor recognizing a lifetime of contributions in electronic journalism. He also served on the board of directors of the Public Broadcasting Service.

Elmer is survived by two sons, two grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. His family asks that he be remembered with donations to the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism.

Please take a moment to remember Elmer Lower, his great service to ABC News, and his many achievements in journalism.