Reporter who broke the news of JFK's death dies - FOX 32 News Chicago

Reporter who broke the news of JFK's death dies

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Eddie Barker (left) announces President Kennedy's death. Eddie Barker (left) announces President Kennedy's death.
DALLAS -

Eddie Barker, the Channel 4 reporter who broke the new to the world that President John F. Kennedy had died, passed away Monday morning in Dallas.

In 1963 Barker was a news director and anchorman at Channel 4, then the CBS affiliate KRLD-TV.

On the day of President Kennedy's visit to Dallas, Barker was assigned to the Trade Mart where JFK's motorcade was headed for a luncheon. He instead reported the terrible news.

"We have just been told by a member of the staff at Parkland Hospital that the president is dead," he said.

CBS leaned heavily on him in the days and years that followed. Lee Harvey Oswald's window Marina gave her first interview to Barker and other exclusives followed.

His career was defined by the JFK story but didn't end there.

He started in radio as a 16-year-old in San Antonio and was still doing a radio talk show in Paris, Texas into his 80s.

"He was a godsend to my life and my career," said Norm Hitzges whose long and storied career in sports talk radio got its beginning when Barker hired him at Channel 4 in 1972.

"I learned more in the first two months under Eddie Barker than I'd learned about journalism in six years," Hitzges said. "He'd pat us on the back and then he'd yell at us. But he was great for that. We needed to get up to speed quickly and we needed somebody who knew the business. Boy did Eddie know the business."

The two remained close even after fading health put Barker in a nursing home. Hitzges saw him two weeks ago.

"I loved that man. That man was a giant in our industry," he said.

It's been said that if Walter Cronkite was the most trusted newsman in America, Barker was the most trusted in Dallas – Fort Worth.

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