Walter Cronkite, R.I.P.

Others have been more eloquent, of course. But allow me to join those who mourn the death of this great journalist.

I grew up in an era when Walter Cronkite told us that’s the way it was. It usually was, and he and his CBS News team earned a nation’s trust.

Many people think of the Kennedy assassination when they remember Cronkite — his moment of visible pain after announcing the president’s death. It was, indeed, one of those moments that stays forever in one’s mind and heart.

I prefer to think of him from the day that brought the greatest joy to an American generation: the first moon landing in 1969. Like so many others, I was watching CBS. The landing was a closer call than most of us knew at the time. Clearly, in retrospect, Cronkite understood how close the lander came to running out of fuel. The relief and happiness on his face in the above video after the Eagle settled onto the moon’s surface was a great moment, brought to the world by a great journalist. (Note: I’ve chosen the clip above for another reason, as well: Cronkite was reporting a story, and the focus was where it belonged, on the astronauts and the team that put them on the moon. The reporter wasn’t the story, and he made sure we all knew that.)

Walter Cronkite was, as we all are, partly a product of his own times. There won’t be — there can’t be in a media ecosystem like the one we’re creating — another like him.