Journalist and News executive William Small died May 24, 2020 after a non Covid-19 related illness in New York City at the age of 93.

Whether it be running a small radio station or a network executive, Small was seen as a “hero to journalism”.  Speaking on Small, Lesley Stahl said via a statement, “he was heroic and steadfast, especially during Watergate, when it seemed we were getting angry calls from the White House every night.  He made us want to be better — and nobody wanted to disappoint him.”

Current CBS News president Susan Zirinsky, whom Small hired when she was 20, spoke on Small saying he was a “hero to journalism.  Every one of us carries Bill Small’s legacy with us — it’s the core to who we are as journalists.”

During a career that crossed six decades; he oversaw the reporting of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, events during the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, Watergate and the resulting resignation of President Richard Nixon, and was responsible for hiring some of the most well known news anchors and reporters in history including Dan Rather, Eric Sevareid, Daniel Schorr, Connie Chung, Diane Sawyer, Ed Bradley, Lesley Stahl, and Bob Schieffer.

Born in Chicago in 1926, the WWII veteran got his journalistic career started as the news director for the Chicago radio station WLS-AM.  From there he went on to be the news director of WHAS-TV in Louisville where the station was named the top news operation in the nation in 1957, assistant news director and news director of the CBS Washington bureau news director, the head of CBS News, the head of NBC News in 1979, the president of the United Press International wire service in 1982, and concluded his career as the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences chairman.  Small retired in 2010.

Small is the author of two books and was on the faculty of Fordham University and the University of Louisville.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is responsible for handing out the news Emmys and in 2014, they presented Small with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Predeceased by his wife Gish, Small is survived by his daughters and six grandchildren.


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