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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soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. brian

    makes me want to read "Strictly Speaking" – he was one of the best at his craft and always emphasizing the tremendous power of the English language – God Rest your Soul Mr. Newman

    September 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tehheh

    He was a true journalist. Not a news reader. Not an egomaniac. He'll be missed.

    September 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Inga

    Rest in Peace, Sir!

    September 15, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. stephen

    wont soon forget is commentary the night of nov 22,1963about the state of the state,how we really were no better than some othr rogue country who would have their leaders killed in an instant,for whatever reason...go to you tube and watch,riveting stuff you wont soon forget

    September 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mr. Guinness

    If I remember correctly Mr,. Newman always signed off, ...."This is Edward R Newman.....", I remember his great reporting and his insight. Rest in Peace, sir, your work is done!.

    September 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • keburg

      Given that his middle name was Harold, I seriously doubt Edwin Newman ever signed off as "Edwin R. Newman." Maybe you're confusing him with Edward R. Murrow. Or maybe you're just confused.

      September 15, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • teton babe

      I bet you're thinking of Irving R. Levine – the guy with the bow tie, who died in 2009. I made the same mistake. Both men were good examples of good journalists. Rest in peace.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ChollyGee

    RIP to an actual JOURNALIST. You will be missed.

    September 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jerry Heer

    I ran into Mr. Newman in Harrod's 25 years ago. Before giving any thought to the fact that he deserved his privacy, I said hello. He was not put off. To the contrary, he stood there and talked with me for quite some time while our spouses shopped. Just two Americans in London having a conversation. What a decent man. Modern journalists should study his career and life. They will learn a lot about how to be better in both.

    September 15, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Carol

    There has always been Ed Newman, Peace to him and sympathy to his family and friends.

    September 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chesapeakedawn

    To Southern Snow, the appropriate punctuation for the sentence you cite would be a comma, not a colon as was used. Further, no quotation marks are required for the second paragraph of Brian Williams' remarks because that paragraph is a continuation of his first set of remarks, as evidenced by the fact that no end quotes were used in the first paragraph.

    Edwin Newman, who knew well how to speak and write correctly, will be missed. The journalists of today could learn from him, but apparently, they refuse to be taught.

    September 15, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. LA_Import

    For national news reporting, I'd like to add the late Peter Jennings as a professional and eloquent journalist.
    For local Los Angeles reporting, we have missed the professionalism of Jerry Dunphy, Larry McCormick, Hal Fishman, et al. for some time now. I'm sure there are other locales that have benefited from their own high caliber news journalists, broadcast or print.

    September 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Henry

    We started out with Murrow, Newman, Edwards, et.al. in TV news and now we've been reduced to putting up with the likes of Rick Sanchez, T-J Holmes and Steve Doucey. Just how steep has the plummet been?

    RIP Ed.

    September 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Vertical?

      September 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Sanchez? Do you mean I, I, I and me, me, me Rick Sanchez? Wait, don't say a word, I need to talk over and through you to prove my point while I laugh and pan for the camera; OK, where were we?

      September 15, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Name*Jam108

    Edwin Newman's passing is sad reminder that quality, balanced, informative jornalism has given way to scurrilous drama-peddling aimed purely at invoking fear and anger, all ultimately to sell advertising. Mr. Newman's passing marks a truly sad day indeed.

    September 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Marc in Denver

    As for the presence or absence of quotes in continuing paragraphs, here's what I was taught in my career as a newspaper journalist: No close quotes are needed at the END of a paragraph if the quote continues in the next paragraph. However, you MUST place an open quote at the beginning of the next paragraph to indicate a continuation of the quote. Also, the list of great TV newsmen should include Frank Reynolds.

    September 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. voxhumana

    I can still hear the sound of his voice in my mind. Inquisitive, reassuring, secure. We've lost one of the best.

    September 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Denver Vet

    He will be missed. I can't watch local Denver, CO news due to the massacre of the english language.

    September 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
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