Former CNN president Burt Reinhardt, who led the network through a phase of enormous growth from 1983-1990, has passed away at age 91. Reinhardt was one of the network’s first employees, joining in 1979, as Ted Turner prepared the effort to launch the world’s first 24-hour news channel.
Reinhardt got his start as a combat photographer during World War II, and served as an editor of the newsreels that used to run before feature films. He got his start in TV news at UPI, where he supervised the wire agency’s TV operations.
“Burt was a colleague and also a friend. More than anyone, he built the foundation for CNN’s global leadership in news,” said Phil Kent, Chairman and CEO, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. in a statement. “He was an innovator and a mentor to many. He was one of the finest people I have known, and his loss is felt by all of his friends and colleagues across the world.”
“I’m sure a lot of people will talk about Burt’s fiscal responsibility. but I think what set Burt apart from everyone else who has been at CNN was that he was quietly strong,” said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide in a statement. “And behind the scenes, this man has integrity and he’s very competitive, but he wants to do things the right way. He’s fair, but firm and he treated everyone with respect.”