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BBG Remembers David Burke

He was first chairman of its governing board

“A leading figure in advancing freedom of the press worldwide.”

Those words were used to describe broadcast news executive David Burke, who died last week at the age of 78. The quote is from Jeff Shell, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees U.S. international broadcasting.

Burke was the first chairman of BBG’s governing board, named to that post by President Clinton in 1995. He held it until 1998.

A statement from BBG said Burke “was known for staunchly defending the journalistic integrity and independence of the agency.” The board has a journalism award named for him.

Burke had been a chief of staff for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and member of the administration of New York Governor Hugh Carey before becoming an executive at ABC News in the 1970s, where he helped launch programs like “20/20” and “Nightline.” He was head of CBS News from 1988–1990.

BBG quoted former U.S. Ambassador Tom Korologos and former U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman on Burke’s leadership and commitment to the independence of BBG journalists. Shell said Burke is remembered at the BBG as an inspirational figure.


Former ABC News Executive Vice President David Burke Dies (ABC)

A History of the Broadcast Board of Governors (BBG)