Brokaw, 80, spent his entire career at the network. He started out at the Los Angeles bureau, covering Ronald Reagan’s early political career, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the tumultuous 1968 presidential election.
He served as NBC’s White House correspondent for three years beginning in 1973, giving him an on-the-ground perspective of the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.
Brokaw went on to spend 22 years anchoring “NBC Nightly News,” with a subsequent role moderating “Meet the Press” after the unexpected death of Tim Russert in 2008.
Other highlights of Brokaw’s career include landing the first interview of Mikhail Gorbachev by an American journalist, and reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall from Berlin. President Barack Obama awarded Brokaw the Medal of Freedom in 2014, praising him for being “one of America’s most trusted and respected journalists.”
In 2018, amid the reckoning of the Me Too movement, two women came forward alleging sexual harassment by Brokaw in the mid-1990s; Brokaw denied any wrongdoing.
NBC said in its statement that Brokaw intends to maintain some presence in print journalism.
Brokaw signed off from “Nightly News” for the last time on Dec. 1, 2004, praising the so-called Greatest Generation ― the subject of a book he wrote ― as he did so.
“They weren’t perfect ― no generation is ― but this one left a large and vital legacy of common effort to find common ground, here and abroad, in which to solve our most vexing problems,” he said. “They did not give up their personal beliefs and greatest passions, but they never stopped learning from each other, and most of all they did not give up on the idea that we’re all in this together. We still are.”
“Thanks for all that I have learned from you,” he concluded. “That’s been my richest reward.”