It was one year ago tomorrow — June 13, 2008 — that NBC’s Tim Russert died. The 58 year-old Washington bureau chief and moderator of Meet the Press had collapsed at work, suffering a fatal heart attack.
This Sunday, Russert’s MTP successor, David Gregory, will say a few words in commemoration at the close of the program, TVNewser has learned.
We’ve asked some of Russert’s friends and colleagues to share their thoughts on how their lives — and perhaps the Sunday morning news scene — have changed since his passing.
• NBC’s Tom Brokaw: “A year after Tim’s death, I am still tempted several times a day to pick up the phone, call him, and say, as I often did, ‘Timmy, m’boy, do you believe what they’re doing NOW?’ We’d laugh, exchange some political gossip, or talk about our kids, and get back to our busy lives.
It’s testimony to Tim’s legacy that politicians, journalists, and viewers alike still refer to the high standard of his work and say how much they miss him. We were lucky to have him for as long as we did — and we must always be mindful of his commitment to the place of vigorous journalism in the public arena.”
• PBS’s Gwen Ifill: “A funny thing happened to me during the election year. I kept hearing Tim’s voice. Wherever I travel, viewers tell me this too. I have no doubt he would have been spinning like a top to be covering such a historic and consequential election year. And he would have been the first one out of the box holding the Obama administration’s feet to the fire. SO much going on, and all without Tim. No wonder I still hear his voice.”
• CBS’s Bob Schieffer: “I miss him terribly, of course as a competitor but mostly as a friend that I would see so often at ball games and other events around town. I still look up at our wall of monitors on Sunday mornings here at CBS News and expect to see that big smiling face in one of them.”
• ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “It was fun to cover politics with Tim and an honor to compete against him.”
• FOX News Sunday’s Chris Wallace: “I don’t think the basic goal of political talk shows has changed at all since Tim’s tragic death. We are still trying to get our national leaders off their talking points — to react in real time — and explain their policies and actions. I never would have admitted it while he was alive, but he was the best at that. And a year after his death, all of us on the Sunday morning beat are still trying to live up to the standard he set.”