Virginia Sherwood/NBC NewsWire/AP
Tim Russert (left), talks with Sam Nunn while hosting "60 Years of Meet the Press" from
the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on November 14, 2007.

Whitaker Steps into Big Shoes of Idolized Russert

July 30, 2008 04:16 PM
by Rachel Balik
NBC has named senior vice president Mark Whitaker to replace Tim Russert as Washington bureau chief.

30-Second Summary

Mark Whitaker, long-time editor of Newsweek magazine and senior vice president of NBC News, will assume the role of Washington bureau chief. The post was most recently held by Tim Russert, who died in June. Whitaker will assume primarily off-air responsibilities, while Tom Brokaw has agreed to host “Meet the Press” until the November elections.

During his time as senior vice president, Whitaker “earned a reputation as a conscientious manager with a deft touch for diplomacy,” the New York Observer reported. But one former staffer said, “he’s basically a vice president without a portfolio. He’s kind of been floating around.”

Many regarded Russert’s death as a great blow, and his will be a tough act to follow for any replacement. The primary challenge will be filling the psychological role of revered news icon. When famous anchor Peter Jennings died of lung cancer soon after leaving his spot on World News Tonight, permanent replacements were not named for four months.

Headline Link: ‘Whitaker Replaces Russert as NBC News’ Washington Bureau Chief’

Background: Tim Russert dies at 58

Key Players: Whitaker and Brokaw

Mark Whitaker
Tom Brokaw

Related Topic: Replacing newscaster icons


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