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Bernard Shaw, longtime former news anchor, dies at 82

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

This happens to be a day when journalists around the world are covering a big breaking news story.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

And it's a day we're pausing to remember a pioneering journalist who mastered the craft, Bernard Shaw. The longtime former news anchor died yesterday.

BERNARD SHAW: I wanted to be the best broadcast journalist I could be. In all the years of preparing to become an anchor, one of the things I strove for was to be able to control my emotions in the midst of hell breaking out.

CHANG: That's Shaw, also a former Marine, telling our NPR co-host Michel Martin about his ambitions back in 2014. His career began in his hometown, Chicago. He went on to report for CBS, ABC and in 1980 became the first chief anchor for a fledgling network called CNN.

SHAPIRO: When the 1991 Gulf War began, he reported from Baghdad as bombs were going off.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SHAW: Something is happening outside. Let's describe to our viewers what we're seeing. The skies over Baghdad have been illuminated.

SHAPIRO: Shaw guided viewers through more big moments, like the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, the Jonestown massacre and pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Part of his passion in reporting was being dispassionate, steady and clear.

SHAW: The more intense the news story I cover, the cooler I want to be because people are depending on you. And it would be a disservice to the consumers of news - be they readers, listeners or viewers - for me to become emotional.

CHANG: But Shaw's emotions about news coverage were strong, especially as one of the few Black anchors on a national platform.

SHAW: I have allegiance to my people and their survival and their success. I have allegiance to my - pardon me for pounding on the table - I have allegiance to the profession of journalism. They're not contradictions.

CHANG: The National Association of Black Journalists honored Shaw with a lifetime achievement award in 2007.

SHAPIRO: His advice for future generations of broadcasters...

SHAW: I would urge anyone - pursue your dreams. Don't let anyone tell you what you cannot do.

CHANG: Veteran journalist Bernard Shaw. He was 82 years old.

(SOUNDBITE OF HARP RELAX'S "SOMBER MOMENT FOR HEART RHYTHM MEDITATION") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ashley Brown is a senior editor for All Things Considered.