Bill Small, Former Top News Executive at CBS and NBC, Dies at 93

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Marc Bryan-Brown/Courtesy NATAS
Bill Small
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He made his mark as a Washington bureau chief and served as president of United Press International.

Bill Small, the former Washington bureau chief for CBS News and president of NBC News, died Sunday after a brief illness unrelated to the coronavirus, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced. He was 93.

Small led CBS’ news operations in the nation’s capital from 1962-74. He recruited Eric Sevareid, Marvin Kalb, Daniel Schorr, Harry Reasoner and Dan Rather from within the division and gave many producers and reporters their first commercial network news positions; those included Bob Schieffer, Ed Bradley, Bernard Shaw, Bill Moyers, Bernard Kalb and Tom Bettag.

Meanwhile, Diane Sawyer, Lesley Stahl, Susan Zirinsky, Connie Chung, Martha Teichner and Rita Braver were among the women brought into the profession during his tenure.

“Bill Small was a hero to journalism,” CBS News president Susan Zirinsky said Monday in a statement. “He hired me as a 20-year-old college student to work the weekend desk in the Washington bureau two weeks after the Watergate break-in. He was tough as nails when it came to defending freedom of the press. He was strict, strong and full of conviction. But the man had a heart of gold — which he only revealed one-third of the time.”

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