Walter Cronkite, arguably the best-known and respected television news anchor of the past half century, died last Friday at 92. Cronkite left an indelible mark on the face on television news journalism, covering many of the main events and interviewing many of the world’s key leaders shaping the 20th century. Besides his well-known expertise covering political and economic news, Cronkite was a pioneer in reporting on and interpreting the complex world of science and space travel.
From 1967 to 1970, Cronkite hosted The 21st Century, a half-hour Sunday documentary sponsored by chemical maker Union Carbide, which covered many of the emerging technologies at the time – for instance, computers. Cronkite was on the forefront of reporting on the U.S. space program. He enthusiastically covered not only the events but also the grueling preparation for the Apollo space missions, culminating in the Apollo 11 lunar mission 40 years ago.
Cronkite’s reports gave many youngsters growing up, like myself, an interest and appreciation for science and technology. His clear, concise reporting, combined with a genuine enthusiasm for adventure and exploring complex technical subjects - made science more understandable – and enjoyable – for the masses. Nowadays, unfortunately, many youngsters take science and technology for granted.
Is there anyone out there who can love and explain space travel the way Walter Cronkite did?