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Remembering Bert Medley, NBC News producer and digital pioneer

Bert Medley, who started TODAY's American Story series with me back in 1975, has died of cancer at age 69. He was a big-time NBC News producer when he wandered up to a rookie reporter with a story that would change our lives: Bert had found a Philadelphia beat cop, Bill Sample, who granted wishes to sick kids.That cop's neighborhood effort paved the way for Make a Wish and all the other similar c
Bert Medley
Bert MedleyNBC News
Bert MedleyToday

Bert Medley, who started TODAY's American Story series with me back in 1975, has died of cancer at age 69. 

He was a big-time NBC News producer when he wandered up to a rookie reporter with a story that would change our lives: Bert had found a Philadelphia beat cop, Bill Sample, who granted wishes to sick kids.

That cop's neighborhood effort paved the way for Make a Wish and all the other similar charities that followed. Bert's story was nominated for an Emmy, the first of many.

Bert and I were a team for nine years, seeking similar people in all 50 states, until Bert's fascination with evolving broadcast technology helped lay the groundwork for the digital media we have today.

Bert Medley was a futurist. He invested in a computer long before they became a household staple, realizing that this device could engage the “viewer” with words, pictures and sound. And that this rich multimedia experience — controlled and guided by the user — could have a much greater impact on presenting news content than the passive television screen.

In 1995, NBC became the first broadcaster to go online, and one of the first news organizations to produce original journalism on the Internet. There was no how-to book; it was Bert Medley's vision that helped lead this small band of digital news pioneers into a new age of journalism.

Bert was with our NBC family for 33 years. We like to think that he has simply gone on to a better assignment.