frank reuvenReuven Frank

Class of 1942

Inducted 1998 Inaugural Group

Reuven Frank pioneered the way news was presented on television by recognizing a simple truth that until then had eluded his peers: Compelling television reporting requires compelling visuals.

In 1950, when he joined NBC News as a writer on “The Camel News Caravan,” the network’s first 15-minute news broadcast, television news largely followed the format favored by radio. It paid little attention to visuals. Frank changed all that and, in so doing, not only distinguished NBC from CBS, its primary competitor at the time, but became a profound influence on the future of the new medium. In 1956, he put David Brinkley and Chet Huntley together to co-anchor the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; the same year, he created the innovative “Huntley-Brinkley Report” and came up with the “Good night, David” and “Good night, Chet” catchphrases that ended each broadcast.

frank reuven nbc emmy awards
Reuven Frank (left) and NBC’s Eliot
Frankel, with their Emmy awards.

Frank, who served two terms as president of NBC News — from 1968 to 1973 and again from 1982 to 1984 —was instrumental in creating the style in which political conventions and election nights are covered. He flooded convention floors with reporters and cameras, and he practically invented the way networks cover election nights. In addition to Huntley and Brinkley, Frank mentored a cast of television reporters and anchors that ranged from John Chancellor and Linda Ellerbee to Andrea Mitchell and Tom Brokaw.

He produced prize-winning documentaries such as “The Tunnel,” the story of how 59 East Berliners escaped into West Berlin by digging a passage beneath the Berlin Wall. Produced in 1962, it won an Emmy as “program of the year,” the only documentary so honored. In the Seventies, he created and executive produced “Weekend,” a news magazine.

frank reuven out of thin airFrank was born in Montreal on Dec. 7, 1920. He attended University College of the University of Toronto, but when his family came to the United States, he continued his education at City College. Following his graduation in 1942 with a B.A. in social science, service in the Army from 1943 to 1946, and post-graduate studies at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Frank joined the Evening News in Newark, where he was a reporter, rewrite man and night city editor. Before long, he shifted to television and began setting precedents. He died on Feb. 4, 2006 at the age of 85.