Canadian anchors praise Cronkite's high standards
Two of Canada's top television anchors added their words of admiration and respect in the wake of the death of legendary newsman Walter Cronkite.
Cronkite, 92, died of cerebral vascular disease on Friday.
"I think he inspired all of us who got into journalism in the '60s," said Peter Mansbridge, anchor for the CBC's The National, said in an interview on Newsworld on Saturday.
"He was one of those who said a reporter could do more than just tell a story, in terms of a cut piece. The reporter could be there on the story — on the set or linked up with the anchor — he kind of pioneered that."
Mansbridge said he remembers what would become one of Cronkite's most iconic newscasts — the announcement of the death of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Mansbridge was a high school student in Ottawa at the time and watched the CBC's link-up with CBS.
"There was Cronkite shepherding us through what was an unbelievable three to four day period right through the funeral … and then 2 days later, the murder of the man who was accused of assassinating him, Lee Harvey Oswald," recalled Mansbridge.
"What a job to be a witness to history and to teach people what was going on through asking questions and finding out what was happening."
Has lead story on CBS Evening News
Mansbridge, who never met the CBS anchor, said he was thrilled in 1978 when one of his stories — about a Soviet satellite falling and landing in Canada's North — aired as the lead story on the CBS Evening News.
"Obviously for me it was an enormous moment because this was Cronkite, the greatest figure in television news in the '60s and '70s, and nobody got close to him in that title, and to have him mention my name — wow!"
Mansbridge said he still has the tape of the CBS newscast.
CTV National News anchor Lloyd Robertson said that, because of Cronkite, anchors "participate, talk to reporters [and] they do interviews with guests."
"He set the standard … all of us were gauged on: Could we be trusted? Did we have his respect for the facts?" Robertson said.
Robertson said he met Cronkite three times. On one occasion, Robertson was hosting an event in Toronto where Cronkite was the main speaker.
"I kept calling him Mr. Cronkite because I was so awestruck by him," Robertson said.
"He finally turned me and said, 'It's all right, Lloyd, you can call me Walter.'"
With files from The Canadian Press