In praise of a bridge-builder

This week marked the third anniversary of the sudden death at 58 of Tim Russert - an iconic figure in ecclesial and newsroom circles in the US, one whose premature passing left a void in both realms that remains well evident, even into the present.

The longest-serving moderator of NBC's Meet the Press - now in its 65th year, the longest-running program in television history - the ruddy-faced son of a Buffalo garbageman was arguably the most beloved American Catholic on the national scene: a journalist whose faith never got in the way of his craft but, as only the Gospel (aided by a Jesuit education) could do, only served to enhance his professional chops.

Still, it wasn't his barrage-style interviews and dogged reporting that won Russert a considerable affection that endures still. That came from a blue-collar goodheartedness so strong it transcended the tube. There was an intense amount of charity work spread across numerous efforts, and in a particularly profound way through his books that became best-sellers, including his first on his father's example of love rooted in hard work and sacrifice.

Three years on, though, heeding his message remains a challenge largely untaken, its guidance as sage as its echo - at least, among his own - has gone unheard. Even now, some of us still can't think of him without a tear (or multiple) in our eyes. Yet even for this, it bears remarking that his loss - in particular, the days of epic, cross-network, nationally-broadcast grief that accompanied it - bore evidence to a significant evolution come to pass in our time.

FULL BLOG: Thanks, Russert (Whispers in the Loggia)


Russert remembered for his fondness for church, faithfulness (Catholic News Service)

Tim Russert (Archive of American Television)

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