Society

Famed Journalist Gabe Pressman Dies At 93

| by Sarah Zimmerman
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Gabe Pressman, famed local New York broadcast journalist and senior correspondent for WNBC-TV, died on June 23 at age 93.

Pressman's career spanned more than 60 years, covering generations of New York mayors, governors and average citizens, according to The New York Times. Continuing his career after many would have retired, Pressman worked as a reporter until only a few months before he died, covering the St. Patrick's Day parade in March, just as he has traditionally done for decades.

WNBC confirmed Pressman's death in a statement.

"This is an incredibly sad day for the WNBC family. Gabe Pressman was a television icon who served our viewers for more than 50 years," said WNBC president and general manager Eric Lerner, according to WPIX. "He was truly one of a kind and represented the very best in television news reporting. Gabe was still coming to work and thinking about the next story."

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After graduating from the Columbia School of Journalism in 1947, Pressman got his first real job as a journalist working as a reporter for the Newark Evening News in New Jersey. He eventually moved on to radio and television, covering the New York area for NBC News affiliates WNBC-TV and WNBC radio.

He interviewed notable figures like actress Marilyn Monroe and Cuban leader Fidel Castro and covered historical events including the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy.

"Joining my friends at WNBC in NY in mourning loss of Gabe Pressman," wrote NBC Nightly news anchor Lester Holt in a tweet. "Broadcast news pioneer and role model to generations of news people."

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As a local journalist, Pressman also covered the major events of his own city, including the arrival of the Beatles in 1964, regional blackouts in 1965 and 1977, political elections and scandals, transit strikes, as well as the terror attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001.

Unlike other broadcast announcers who would simply read wire stories written by news agencies, Pressman would conduct his own original reporting and wrote and read his own scripts. He also made award-winning documentaries on homelessness, racial tensions and mental illness. 

Over the course of his career, he won 11 Emmys, a Peabody Award and a George Polk Award. He was also the president of the New York Press Club and used his position to pressure former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to increase transparency and grant more press access to public records and to crime scenes.  

Current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted his condolences, reports WPIX, saying, "Gabe Pressman was a New York City treasure."

"He was a mentor to countless reporters doing vital work today. He'll be deeply missed."

Pressman is reported to have died in his sleep. The cause of death remains unknown. He is survived by his wife, four children and eight grandchildren.

Sources: The New York Times, WPIX / Photo credit: Jon S/FlickrGabe Pressman/Twitter (2)

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