As a communications professional and scholar who keeps an eye and an ear (just one of each) glued to the media, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to recognize the t.v. legends who passed on during the month of April. I’d like to dedicate this Public Displays of Protocol to three men of media who exemplified dignity, class, and high ethical standards: Gil Noble, Mike Wallace, and Dick Clark.
On April 18th, we lost “America’s Oldest Teenager.” Dick Clark, known to the younger generations as the cool older dude who made an appearance every New Year’s Eve, built a long-lived career of so much more. His extensive work in show biz made him the most well recognized pop culture icon spanning several generations. Mr. Clark was adored as the host of “American Bandstand,” TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes,” the “American Music Awards,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” and countless other television and radio shows. Always a vision of effortless sophistication, he dedicated his career to bringing young talent to the forefront as well as entertaining his youthful audience (regardless of age) in a respectable way.
Gil Noble – the journalist, the gentleman, the giant – whom I watched religiously each Sunday, departed on
April 5th. I must admit that Mr. Noble’s passing touched me as though I lost a dear distant friend. For as long as I could remember, he sat in my living room every week, educating my siblings and me on historical and current events, on people who were making a difference in the community, and on the ways every individual can improve the quality of life. Mr. Noble dressed impeccably, spoke articulately and welcomed us into his realm on the television show “Like It Is,” which aired for 43 years. He built his career as a journalist, bringing us fair and accurate news, and continued this practice as a host shining light on issues as well activism well into his later years. He never faltered from his journalistic standards and he always kept the well-being and empowerment of his viewers in mind.
We lost more than one phenomenal journalist in the month of April. The great Mike Wallace, best known for
his role as the legendary host of “60 Minutes” also died on April 5th. He subscribed to the old school practice in which journalistic integrity really meant something. His reputation stands tall on his lengthy track recorded of providing insightful, balanced investigative reporting and interviewing. Mr. Wallace didn’t take it easy on his guests. As a matter of fact, he developed a whole new style of tough interviewing techniques by which he dug out the information he knew his viewers tuned in to hear. Yet, he remained a gentleman and did not make his work a personal attack on those who sat face-to-face with him. He kept his guests honest and gave his audience what we needed. What more could you ask?
These three men impacted us across cultures, age groups, and personal interests. Their legacies will continue to serve as a strong, reliable foundation for the modern era of broadcast media. For their excellence and nobility, I salute them again and again.