A month ago, a giant of American journalism died when Walter Conkrite passed away at 92. Overnight, a second giant left this world when Don Hewitt, creator of 60 Minutes for CBS, died at the age of 86. Hewitt worked as producer or director for CBS legends Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards and Walter Cronkite, but he will be known for TV news magazine format on 60 Minutes which started in 1968.

In the US, 60 Minutes is still an agenda setter and viable, authoritative news program. Here, the Nine Network’s version is a lightweight, star-struck bit of fluff trading of the good reputation from when it started in the late 1970’s.

Hewitt helped make journalists like Mike Wallace, Dan Rather, Morley Safer and Harry Reasoner. Hewitt spent 60 years in TV, most of them at CBS. He reluctantly stepped down as executive producer of 60 Minutes in 2003.

He started at CBS in 1948, was producer and director of the network’s evening news broadcast during the tenures of Edwards and Cronkite, and also produced and directed the first televised debate between presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960.

Peter Fray

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