June 13, 2008

Tim Russert Dead at 58; NBC Host Was Newseum Trustee

Tim Russert addresses high-school winners of the Freedom Forum's 2008 Free Spirit Awards. (Sam Kittner/Newseum)
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Tim Russert addresses high-school winners of the Freedom Forum's 2008 Free Spirit Awards. (Sam Kittner/Newseum)

Tim Russert gestures after speaking with recipients of the Freedom Forum's Free Spirit Award. (Sam Kittner/Newseum)
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Tim Russert gestures after speaking with recipients of the Freedom Forum's Free Spirit Award. (Sam Kittner/Newseum)

Tim Russert on the set of NBC's "Meet the Press." (NBC Universal, Inc.)
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Tim Russert on the set of NBC's "Meet the Press." (NBC Universal, Inc.)

Tim Russert speaks at the 60th anniversary of NBC's "Meet the Press," which was held at the Newseum. (Sam Kittner/Newseum)
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Tim Russert, right, Newseum CEO Charles Overby and others, tour the Newseum's construction site in 2005. (Sam Kittner/Newseum)
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Tim Russert, right, Newseum CEO Charles Overby and others, tour the Newseum's construction site in 2005. (Sam Kittner/Newseum)

Tim Russert shows the key to the 2000 presidential election. (Joe Skipper/Courtesy Reuters)
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Tim Russert shows the key to the 2000 presidential election. (Joe Skipper/Courtesy Reuters)

As moderator of NBC's Sunday morning interview program "Meet the Press" since December 1991, Tim Russert's aggressive interview style and ability to sniff out political spin made him one of the country's most respected journalists.

Russert, 58, died June 13 after collapsing at NBC's Washington bureau.

Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, when announcing the news of Russert's death, called him "one of the premier political analysts and journalists of his time."

President George W. Bush praised Russert as a "tough and hardworking newsman."

Russert, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., was a trustee of the Newseum and a strong advocate of building the new Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

"It was fitting that one of the very first events at the Newseum was to honor Tim and celebrate the 60th anniversary of 'Meet the Press,'" said Newseum CEO Charles Overby. "The guest list was more impressive than a White House state dinner list. Without trying to be, he was Washington's leading luminary. We will miss him greatly."

Russert developed a passion for politics while working on the campaign of New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1976. At age 29, he became Moynihan's chief of staff. He jumped from politics to journalism in 1984 when he joined NBC in New York. He went to the Washington bureau in 1988 and soon became the face of the network's political coverage.

As moderator of "Meet the Press" — the longest-running show on television — Russert grilled presidents, members of Congress and foreign leaders. He served as the show's moderator longer than any previous host.

Russert will always be remembered for his low-tech coverage of the 2000 presidential race on election night. Rather than relying on state-of-the-art wizardry, Russert opted to use a marker and an eraser board to keep viewers updated on election results. The eraser board is currently on display in the Newseum's News Corporation News History Gallery.

Each Sunday morning, Russert signed off with the words: "If it's Sunday, it's 'Meet the Press.'"

With his passing, Sundays will never seem the same.

Tim Russert Remembered | Front Page Archive

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