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Tom Brokaw's Eight Greatest Moments in Broadcasting

Ryan Phillips
Tom Brokaw, American Visionary: John F. Kennedy's Life And Times At Smithsonian American Art Museum On May 2
Tom Brokaw, American Visionary: John F. Kennedy's Life And Times At Smithsonian American Art Museum On May 2 / Paul Morigi/Getty Images
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Tom Brokaw is retiring from NBC News after 55 years with the network. A legendary newsman, Brokaw got his start at KTIV in Sioux City, Iowa, and rose to great heights as one of American's most trusted voices.

Obviously, it's difficult to sum 55 years of broadcasting up in one article, so we thought we'd just give you what we believe are Brokaw's eight greatest moments.

Reporting on President Nixon's resignation

In 1973, Brokaw was named NBC's White House correspondent and, boy, did he have a wild ride. He covered the height of the Watergate scandal and was broadcasting live from the White House as Richard Nixon resigned.

Exclusive prime time interview with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987

Brokaw was the first American journalist to interview Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, as he was finally granted a sit-down in 1987. It took place at the Kremlin, as Brokaw grilled Gorbachev about the Soviet position in the world at the height of the Cold War.

Anchoring NBC Nightly News live as the Berlin Wall fell

As the Berlin Wall fell in suddenly in 1989, Brokaw was there live to document it. He reported on unrest occurring in the region and had no idea the wall would actually fall.

His opening line was perfect: "A historic moment tonight, the Berlin Wall can no longer contain the East German people." I remember watching that broadcast as a kid, and despite being incredibly young, the scene gave me chills.

His undercover bike ride through Beijing during Tiananmen Square protests

As anchor of NBC Nightly News, Brokaw flew to Beijing to cover the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Chinese officials controlled what could be filmed, severely hampering what foreign journalists could show to their audiences. Brokaw and an enterprising cameraman found a workaround. They hopped on bikes with a hidden camera and pedaled around the city, giving viewers a real look at the situation in Beijing.

Being named host of the Today Show

After years of excellent reporting from the White House, Brokaw took the anchor chair of NBC's Today Show, hosting along with Jane Pauley for five years.

His broadcast on September 11, 2001

On September 11, 2001, Brokaw had been on various NBC broadcasts to discuss the terrorists attacks launched against the United States. His most impactful moments came as he was in the anchor chair for an NBC special report entitled "Attack on America." It was Brokaw at his finest.

Reporting from Kuwait City as Saddam Hussein surrendered during first Iraq War

As the first Gulf War raged, Brokaw was entrenched in the Middle East, reporting on location as the United States and coalition forces attempted to liberate Kuwait from Iraq and Saddam Hussein. On the night Hussein finally surrendered, Brokaw was in Kuwait City.

Saying goodbye to NBC Nightly News

Brokaw anchored the NBC Nightly News for 22 years. As that chapter closed in 2004, he offered a wonderful sign off during his final broadcast. It was the kind of thing everyone had come to expect from Brokaw as he was brilliant, eloquent and humble.

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