Brokaw, T. cm.jpg
Induction Category & YearArts and Entertainment 1991
BirthFebruary 6, 1940
Webster, SD

   Tom Brokaw
Champion of Excellence

Legends Bio
 Who Is Tom Brokaw?

Dedicated, distinguished, and articulate are words that describe one of television’s finest broadcast journalists. Tom Brokaw was anchor, managing editor, and chief of correspondents of NBC News’ early evening newscast. As managing editor, he was responsible for producing and reporting documentaries and covering news events and elections. Tom Brokaw was born in Webster, South Dakota, on February 6, 1940. His father’s job as a construction foreman required their family to move often. They lived a short time in Bristol, Igloo, and Pickstown, and then they settled in Yankton. Tom speaks often about the hard workers of his parents’ generation. He said, “I could not be the man I am today without the boy I was yesterday, in a far-off place and long ago.” Tom Brokaw married Merideth Auld in 1962, and they have three daughters. During high school in the late 1950s, Brokaw was elected governor of South Dakota American Legion Boys State. It was during this time that Tom appeared on a New York game show with Governor Joe Foss. This was the beginning of a long and lasting relationship with Foss. Tom didn’t take college very seriously and dropped out of the University of Iowa. When he went back to school, he was ready to work, and he graduated from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion in 1964. After graduating, Brokaw began his television career in Sioux City, Iowa. One of the main reasons he was interested in news reporting was his desire to travel. Later he worked at television stations in Omaha, Nebraska, and Atlanta, Georgia. He joined NBC News in California in 1966. NBC made Tom the White House correspondents and anchor of the Saturday edition of Nightly News in 1973. He then became host of NBC’s Today Show. Next Brokaw became a co-anchor of the NBC Nightly News with Roger Mudd. In 1983 he became the sole anchor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. Even at an early age Tom was interested in politics. He would stay up late just to see the election results on television. Tom is well known as a political reporter and has covered every political election since 1968. Brokaw covered many significant stories in history, such as the Challenger disaster, Hurricane Andrew, and the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He was the only anchor to report directly from Berlin during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1982. Tom Brokaw is well-known for his many documentaries and is the author of several books and magazine articles. Tom is credited also for his charity work. He has received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as countless public and industry awards. He has won several Emmy Awards and every major award in broadcast journalism.

When Brokaw closed his final Nightly News on NBC on December 1, 2004, he was regarded as the most popular news personality in the United States. He continues to occasionally report for the NBC Nightly News program, work at presidential debates, and create documentaries.
anchor an announcer on a news program
articulate able to express thoughts, ideas, or feelings clearly
career a job or occupation regarded as long-term or lifelong activity
correspondent somebody employed by a news organization to provide reports from a particular place or on a particular subject
dedicated committed to a goal, cause, or job
distinguished well known and respected for an achievement, skill, knowledge, or talent
documentaries movies or TV programs that present facts and information, especially about a political, historical, or social issue
governor the elected executive of a state government in the United States
honorary given, elected, or awarded for outstanding service or distinguished achievements
significant having a major or important effect
Extended Activities

Tom once lived in Igloo, South Dakota. This is now a ghost town in our state. Learn about this town at Ghost Towns. Do an Internet search for images of this town. Use one of these images to write a descriptive paragraph or as the inspiration of a ghost story to share with your classmates.

Common Core Standards 4.RI.7 • 4.W.3 (ELA) • 4.W.4 (ELA)

SD Standards

Use the 5Ws chart to write a news report about an important event at your school or in your community. Rehearse reading your report out loud and then videotape your report to share with an audience.

Common Core Standards 4.W.2 (ELA) • 4.W.3 (ELA) • 4.W.4 (ELA) • 4.SL.4 (ELA) • 4.SL.5 (ELA)

SD Standards

As part of Tom’s work he interviews people. Try interviewing a grandparent or someone of his/her age. You might use some of the questions found on the Interview Questions page. Write a short biography about this special person’s life. To learn more about biographies, try the lesson and practice on Understanding Biographies.

Common Core Standards 4.W.3 (ELA) • 4.W.7 (ELA) • 4.RI.2 (ELA)

SD Standards

Tom’s family moved often because his father was a construction foreman. He helped build the dam in Pickstown, SD. Name the four dams on the Missouri River and mark them on a South Dakota Map . Also include on your map, the towns that Tom Brokaw lived in as a child.

Common Core Standards

SD Standards

Tom created many documentaries on different topics and people. Learn more about creating documentaries at Meet Me at the Corner. Watch How to Make a Documentary Video Podcast at the site. Click on the Episodes tab to watch a few examples of documentaries submitted to this site by kids. Your turn! Try creating a documentary on a topic or person that interests you. The website has resources to help you, including a storyboard.

Common Core Standards 4.RI.3 (ELA) • 4.W.2 (ELA) • 4.W.6 (ELA) • 4.W.8 (ELA) • 4.SL.4 (ELA)

SD Standards

Calling all kid reporters! Check out Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. Read some of the great articles written by kids. Maybe you are interested in applying to be a kid reporter. Check with your parents and then complete the application. Be prepared to submit a typed news article (maximum 400 words) about your community. The article must include at least two quotes from at least one interview. You will also need a typed essay (maximum 250 words) that answers the questions: Why do you want to be a Kid Reporter? What do you hope to learn as a Kid Reporter?

Common Core Standards 4.W.2 (ELA) • 4.W.6 (ELA)

SD Standards

Create a poem about Tom Brokaw. Try a “Cinquain” or another form you like at Instant Poetry Forms.

Common Core Standards 4.W.9 (ELA) • 4.RL.5 (ELA) • 4.L.5 (ELA)

SD Standards

Tom is the author of several books and magazine articles. Take a look at the brain teaser called Hooked on Books and try to find the solution. Now try writing a brain teaser of your own featuring some of the books Tom wrote. Share your brain teaser with a

Common Core Standards 4.OA.3 (Math) • SMP 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 (Math)

SD Standards

Tom Brokaw - I went to Berlin on a hunch and landed the biggest story of my career

Tom Brokaw Special 485th Message

Tom Brokaw on Boys State

1985 - Promo - NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw - Tuned in to the world.
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