Bert Case, the man whose reporting career spanned half a century, has died. He was 76.
“For more than 50 years, Bert Case told the stories of Mississippi, aggressively and fairly holding her leadership accountable and eloquently celebrating her people,” said Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. “He was a gentleman whose signature sign-off made him an icon. Deborah and I are saddened by his passing. He leaves a beautiful legacy and will be missed by all who knew him.”
He’d been in the hospital since September after being diagnosed with sepsis, a complication from an infection.
Case started his career at WMPS Radio in Memphis in 1960. In 1971 he started at Jackson’s ABC affiliate WAPT as its first news director and went on to work at the city’s NBC affiliate WLBT from 1974 until 2014 when he returned to WAPT.
Bert covered every major story in Mississippi either as a news director, reporter or producer for 50 years.
“A lot of stories stand out in my mind as being important, but nothing like Hurricane Camille and nothing like [former Mississippi Governor Kirk] Fordice,” Bert [told radio station Y101]. “But I’m also very well known for having fought off a bulldog.
“A pit bull was attacking me one time. I was covering a story out in the Queens section of Jackson. A little girl had gotten shot in her house. I was out there with Megan (West). We were both there at the same time. This dog comes charging down. I had seen the sign, ‘Beware of Dog,’ and here I am out there with nothing to protect myself with but a reporter’s notebook. That’s all I had. I started swinging it at it, telling the dog to go home.”
Bert said the spiral of his notebook hit the dog on the nose, which made him back off.
“I thought I had done everything wrong fighting that dog off,” Bert said. “But I found out they use that video to teach people the right thing to do if a dog charges you. Charge back, you know, yell at him. Don’t try to outrun it because you can’t do it. The dog will catch you every time.”