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Idol Chatter

We can be waxing sarcastic on the Britney-K-Fed break-up one day, and the next day a totally different story turns the Idol Chatter mood serious and reflective: “60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley succumbed to leukemia yesterday at the age of 65.

He was one of the big ones, a 26-year award-winning veteran of the journalism world and one of “60 Minutes”‘s most vital journalists. The media outlets are touting his memorable stories, and how he broke racial barriers by becoming the first African-American White House correspondent.

This journalist covered everything, from reporting on brain cancer to interviewing Michael Jackson to the Roman Catholic sex scandal to covering all the major news stories to landing the only televised interview with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

But for me what stands out about Ed Bradley was his interviewing technique. We could all learn from his mastery of the interview. Veteran journalist Walter Cronkite said in an MSNBC.com article that Bradley “was tough in an interview, he was insistent on getting an interview, and at the same time when the interview was over, when the subject had taken a pretty heavy lashing by him–they left as friends. He was that kind of guy.”

Each big-name journalist is known for something. Barbara Walters becomes a celebrity’s friend and then asks those embarrassing questions we all want to know the answers to. Mike Wallace (also of “60 Minutes”) was hard-hitting, almost combative. You wouldn’t see him interviewing Michael Jackson. Katie Couric is the queen of perkiness with the experience to back her up (though her transition to nightly news anchor continues to be rocky).

But Ed Bradley–if a big-name were ever to interview me, I would want it to be Bradley. I would’ve wanted him to cover the Ted Haggard scandal, to tackle the story of homegrown terrorism in the America, to give faith stories and issues the Bradley touch. If God allowed it, I’d sure love to witness the Almighty and Ed Bradley sitting across from each other, with Bradley rooting for the answers to those questions we all have buried in our hearts.

His story today is unfortunately buried at the bottom of most online news sites. But his death is one of the biggest losses for the journalism world and for all the stories that won’t be covered by him.

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