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Pioneering Veteran Journalist Cokie Roberts Dead at 75


Cokie Roberts
Cokie Roberts

Radio Online is very sad to report acclaimed journalist and author Cokie Roberts has died at age 75. The cause of death has been reported as complications from breast cancer. Roberts recently acknowledge she'd had "health issues" over the summer and was doing fine.

Over her illustrious career, which was kick-started nationally at NPR in 1978, Roberts won three Emmys. Per her NPR obituary, "Roberts is one of NPR's most recognizable voices and considered one of a handful of pioneering women journalists-along with Nina Totenberg, Linda Wertheimer, and Susan Stamberg-who helped shape the public broadcaster's sound and culture at a time when few women held prominent roles in journalism."

NPR President & CEO Jarl Mohn issued a statement saying: "We are saddened to hear that Cokie Roberts has passed away. Cokie was one of NPR's 'founding mothers,' since 1978 her signature voice and commentary have accompanied public radio listeners, provided context for news and been a familiar presence in their homes. Cokie has won almost every award in journalism; she has been the trusted voice that Americans count on when political news breaks.

Cokie was on the search committee that hired me and was a wonderful and strong supporter from day one and throughout my time at NPR. This is a huge loss for all of us. I am saddened beyond words.

The NPR and public radio family join Cokie's family, friends, and countless fans who will miss her so dearly."

Read the entire NPR obituary here.

Corporation for Public Broadcasting President/CEO Pat Harrison said in a statement, "The Corporation for Public Broadcasting mourns the passing of Cokie Roberts, a broadcasting legend and respected figure in American journalism. Cokie was a formative voice in the early years of NPR, when few women held high-profile positions in national journalism. For a decade, as NPR's Congressional correspondent, she offered fair, insightful coverage of the inner workings of Congress.

He continued, "Even after moving to ABC News, Cokie remained part of the public media family by contributing to NPR as a political commentator for decades. CPB awarded her the 1990 Edward R. Murrow Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to public radio. We will long remember with gratitude Cokie's pioneering work and commitment to civility. We share the sorrow of her family, public media and ABC at her passing."

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said, "NAB and our broadcast colleagues mourn the passing of ABC's Cokie Roberts, whose countless awards are testament to a glass-shattering career that inspired scores of professional women journalists.

"I was proud to have known Cokie, to have worked with her and to have called her a friend during my years in the Senate. Cokie brought class, intelligence and fairness to political journalism, whether as co-host of ABC's ‘This Week' or offering commentaries on public radio. Her contributions to politics and broadcasting will never be forgotten."

Cokie Roberts received the NAB Distinguished Service Award, the broadcast industry's highest honor, at the NAB Show in 2003.

Listen to the Benztown audio tribute to Cokie Roberts produced by Tom Baker and voiced & written by Bill Royal here.

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