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Veteran journalist Daniel Schorr, 93: From typewriter to Twitter

Dan Daniel Schorr, 93, the fiercely independent former CBS newsman and National Public Radio commentator who died Friday, reported on and analyzed many of the most important events of the last six decades, including the Cold War, Watergate and President Johnson's war on poverty. Last year, with a nudge from younger NPR colleagues, he marked another milestone: He learned to use Twitter.

On a Feb. 28, 2009, segment of "Weekend Edition," host Scott Simon and NPR social media expert Andy Carvin demonstrated Twitter to the lion of broadcast news. Schorr expressed some reservations about the whole social media explosion. "What we are losing is editing," he said, bemoaning a new world "full of people who are sending out what they consider to be news. It may be, it may not be, it may be made up and it doesn't matter anymore." By the end of the segment, however, Simon and Carvin welcomed Schorr to the "Twitterverse" by setting up his Twitter account. You can view a video of the segment here.

Schorr wasn't a prolific Tweeter but he did issue a few dozen of the 140-characters-or-less communiques. One of them announced that he had become a grandfather. Another said he had just composed an "All Things Considered" commentary on the computer for the first time ("Good-bye, typewriter.")

My favorite post was Schorr poking fun at President Obama for inviting a couple of guys to the White House to mend their differences over a beer. (Those guys were African American scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the white Cambridge police officer who mistook him for a burglar when Gates forgot his key and broke into his own home.) Quipped Schorr: "Would you call a summit over beer a 'brew-haha'?"

You can read all of Schorr's Tweets here.

You can read The Times' obituary of Schorr here.

-- Elaine Woo

Photo: Daniel Schorr in 1987. Credit: Reuters / NPR

 
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Schorr's one-time boss, Edward R. Murrow, once observed, "Our history will be what we make it." No truer words have been said, especially when you look at the career of Daniel Schorr. Newscaster and reporter, willing to take the heat for a controversial story, on hand at the beginning of Ted Turner's game little enterprise, Cable News Network, longtime commentator on NPR. I will miss Schorr's commentaries on "Weekend Edition(Saturday)" with Scott Simon. That tidbit about Twitter, especially, brought back some prime memories.


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