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News veteran Neil Strawser dead at 78

Former CBS newsman anchored radio coverage of Kennedy assassination
/ Source: Reuters

Former broadcast newsman Neil Strawser, who anchored CBS radio coverage of President John Kennedy’s assassination, the Watergate hearings and NASA space launches, has died at age 78, the network said Tuesday.

The veteran Washington correspondent, who left CBS News in 1986 before taking a job as a press officer on Capitol Hill, suffered a heart attack at his home in Washington and was pronounced dead at George Washington University Hospital Dec. 31, according to CBS.

Born and raised in Ohio, Strawser was a familiar face on CBS television during the late 1950s and early ’60s, appearing frequently on the nightly 15-minute broadcast of the “CBS News with Douglas Edwards.”

Strawser was the lone TV network “pool” reporter admitted to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis and reported the departure of freighters carrying nuclear missiles back to the Soviet Union.

But Strawser was perhaps better known for his radio work, most memorably as anchor of CBS Radio’s four straight days of coverage of the Kennedy assassination and its aftermath in November 1963.

He also moderated CBS Radio coverage of NASA missions ranging from the Gemini program through the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969, as well as the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973 and the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings in 1974.

For many years, Strawser anchored weekend broadcasts of ”News on the Hour” and the Saturday edition of the “CBS World News Roundup,” and he frequently contributed to “Washington Week” and “Capitol Cloakroom” on the radio and to “Face the Nation” on radio and TV.

Beginning his broadcast career reporting basketball games on radio in high school, Strawser got his start at CBS in 1952 as an editorial research assistant. He was promoted to correspondent four years later and spent his entire CBS News tenure based at the network’s Washington bureau.

Starting in 1987, Strawser became a press officer for the House Budget Committee, from which he retired in 1994.