September 15th, 2010
11:57 AM ET

Longtime NBC newsman Edwin Newman has died

Edwin Newman, the longtime NBC newsman and expert on the English language, has died, NBC said Wednesday.

Newman, 91, served in many capacities for NBC, as an anchor, a news reporter, a commentator, a moderator and a host.

He was particularly well-known for his writings, including those about language. They include "Strictly Speaking: Will America Be the Death of English?" and "A Civil Tongue."

“For decades America got its news from NBC’s Edwin Newman. He was one of our nation’s preeminent journalists, an authoritative figure on grammar and the English language, a true professional and always the gentleman," President of NBC News Steve Capus said in a statement. "He brought dignity and great perspective to an endless array of historic news events. He set a standard for decades to come, at NBC News and throughout this profession. Edwin will be missed as a journalist, and as a respected member of the NBC News family.”

Brian Williams, Anchor and Managing Editor of Nightly News with Brian Williams, praised Newman's personality and sense of humor.

“Ed Newman was never preachy or pedantic. He was approachable, elegant and precise," Williams said in a statement. "He was a teacher, a broadcaster, and above all a superb journalist. To those of us watching at home: he made us feel like we had a very smart, classy friend in the broadcast news business.

His sharp sense of humor - always first aimed squarely at himself - allowed him to stretch his formidable talents from news to Saturday Night Live. His voice can still be heard inside 30 Rock - and we summon it often when we need an answer. He always knew the correct one.”

NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw echoed the sentiments and added that Newman served as an example for the kind of reporter he would later strive to be.

"Ed Newman was an early role model for my generation of NBC News correspondents - worldly, erudite and droll, qualities that were enriched by his pitch perfect use of the English language," Brokaw said in a statement. "He was always a gentleman and a reassuring presence in our midst."

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  1. bailoutsos

    "He set a standard for decades to come" - Sure bet he would puke over most of the stuff the media reports on now.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. X

      awwww...

      September 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southern Snow

      He might roll his eyes at the way this article was written. It should read: "To those of us watching at home, ..." (not semicolon), and there needs to be quotation marks to start the second paragraph of Brian Williams' quote. Or, he may excuse it as "CNN writing."

      Edwin Newman was a great example of a good reporter and a good person. In a time when it seems journalists are taking sides (for the most part), he provided the news in a clearly unbiased manner and still made it interesting. As a journalist myself, I hope he is the example that the journalists of today and tomorrow would follow.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • RPR

      Agreed!

      September 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • iPwn

      How the standard has fallen.

      September 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Southern Snow: your 2nd note is acceptable in journalism. Surprised you aren't aware of this. Look in any newspaper today – when the quote is being continued, new marks are not necessary.

      September 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Picky, Picky

      Southern Snow, you DO mean "colon", no? Perhaps you had a fruit fly decorating your screen. You're right about the quotation error, though.

      September 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edward R. Murrow

      He was from an era where real news was reported...not the non-thinking fluff of today...like how much weight Kate

      Gosslin has lost or are those new heels ok to screw in. Thanks for the great memories.

      September 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • keburg

      "To those of us watching at home, ..." (not semicolon), "

      The writer didn't use a semicolon; he/she used a colon. Rolling his eyes indeed.

      September 15, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • deborah ann chartier

      I am sure you are right...he was my Great Uncle My Grandfathers brother R.I.P uncle Edwin He was not around much for obvious reasons and he will be missed. I am blessed that such an enormously respected and talented man was my great uncle.And it is true reporters have lost what it means to be a reporter.My Uncle and men like him then were the gold standard of newsmen...this generation of media has no clue what integrity and truth is...

      September 15, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Turner

      Newman had a sign above his door – ABANDON HOPEFULLY ALL WHO ENTER. He said the misue of 'hopefully' was the most egregious English usage error. He is already missed.

      September 15, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      Brian Williams, Anchor and Managing Editor of Nightly News with Brian Williams, praised Newman's personality and sense of humor.

      Brian Williams said in a statement. "He was a teacher, a broadcaster, and above all a superb journalist. To those of us watching at home: he made us feel like we had a very smart, classy friend in the broadcast news business." Too bad he, himself (Brian) made a mistake. In his second sentence, the word "like" is incorrect; it should be "as if" or "as though." Ed Newman would have been amused at such a glaring error! Especially from the puffy Brian!

      April 5, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. Laurie

    He was a really good journalist. May God rest his soul.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Herge

    They don't make them like they used to. He will be sorely missed. God bless him and his family.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TurdFerguson

    I'm going to check my grammar in the comments section double today, just for you, pal. RIP

    September 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      R.I.P. is an abbreviation for rest in peace -- Oops.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ronald Reagan

      Wise words, Mr. Ferguson.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • S. Britchky

      "I'm going to check my grammar in the comments section double today, just for you, pal. RIP"

      While you're at it, TurdFerguson, show genuine respect for Edwin Newman and the rest of us by changing your handle.

      September 15, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael

    A role model. Rest in Peace.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lou from CT

    A role model for the new crop of journalist and one that I admired. May rest in peace and may God comfort his family.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Corkpuller

    This man was the gold standard for a professional and class act. No sound bite could do him justice. Thanks for making everyone around you better. RIP

    September 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. otto

    His name belongs up there with Murrow and Cronkite.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Becca

    Every time I hear anyone, especially media folks, speak so grammatically incorrect I almost hear fingernails on a blackboard, I think of Mr. Newman and my English teachers/profs who made sure we didn't put a noun and pronoun back-to-back, for example, or misspell possessives and contractions! Mr. Newman's fine work over the years will be sorely missed by us all. RIP

    September 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • annie

      I hear you! Their vs there vs they're....looser vs loser...A Jersey Shore cast member complained that he "was taken back" by negative comments about them...obviously he meant taken "aback"....Good grief. It just seems so basic. I have made it a point when I text NOT to abbreviate anything. I found it was starting to dumb ME down after awhile. If you make concessions in one area it will affect all areas. If it takes me two texts to get everthing in then so be it. About the only thing I do in shorthand is 'LOL'! 🙂

      September 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stew Gotz

      Excuse me, but that should be "Every time I hear anyone, especially media folks, speak so grammatically incorrectly, ...." Edwin Newman was indeed a great journalist.

      September 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathi

      "speak so grammatically incorrectly"

      September 15, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • keburg

      "Every time I hear anyone, especially media folks, speak so grammatically incorrect . . . "

      Hahaha. Priceless.

      September 15, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe citizen abroad

      ...speak so...umm...ungrammatically...?

      September 15, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AJ

    Good work. Pop sure missed u lot! RIP.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. annie

    He must have wanted to strangle the inventor of texting with all its shorthand crap.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    Ed Newman, Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Huntley/Brinkley, Harry Reasoner, Bernard Shaw,Eric Sevareid,Howard K. Smith,Bob Schieffer,Douglas Edwards, etc. When reporting the news and trusting that the news was ONLY and ACCURATELY reported meant everything. Thank you Ed Newman for "being there" with the ONLY the news we could count on and trust!

    September 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • amjp

      Amen!

      September 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stew Gotz

      I agree, Jim. That did mean everything. Now, sadly, not so much. But you forgot John Chancellor.

      September 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • AndyTheGameIventor

      Very well said. It's unfortunate that the days of news as information have given way to the days of news as entertainment and, in some cases, new as political propaganda. That's not to say that news in Newman's day was perfect – it did reflect white Christian male America as the norm and everything else as a curious and sometimes-tolerated deviation from it, but the investigation and reporting were professional. The press investigated Nixon and Watergate, today they investigate Bristol Palin. Today's front page links on CNN.com give equal weight to the Iraq war and to which actor is divorcing which rock star. But, as the great Walter Cronkite said, "that's the way it is..."

      September 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • SomeGuyInNC

      Ditto, Stew. But don't forget the late Daniel Schorr either.
      Or for that matter, George Orwell, who was a journalist by trade and who tirelessly stressed the importance of language and its proper use.

      September 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve Schallenberger

      Jim is right on the money. I miss Jules Bergman too.

      September 15, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • justsane

      nicely put 🙂 (and yes, i'm certain that he hated the little smiley face, but i'm working on the assumption that mr. newman will not be reading these comments.)

      September 15, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Letticia Rosado

    Edwin Newman was one of the greatest news anchors in the history of television. He will be missed.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gary Cox

    I just hope the the new kids on the block were paying attention. An excellent role model.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chip

    I agree with the comments above. If only we could get our news from such men & women today, and real news (not the latest on Lady Gaga and Lindsay Lohan). RIP Mr. Newman.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
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