Cronkite to visit Utah


    By Kenneth Dahl

    One of the most influential decision-makers in America is surprising Salt Lake City this holiday season. Journalist Walter Cronkite will be the guest narrator for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square Christmas concert at the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 and 14.

    The concert, called “Silent Night, Holy Night,” features Christmas songs and other seasonal music. Craig Jessop, music director for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, said there is a special surprise in this year”s concert – and Cronkite plays an important role in that surprise.

    The only hint available from the Church Public Affairs Department is Cronkite”s narration will be an original treatment of a holiday story.

    “We felt that he was the perfect choice to complement our program this year and his narration will be the centerpiece of the program,” Jessop said in a press release.

    Walter Cronkite will also host the Mormon Tabernacle Choir weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word on Dec. 15 as a guest narrator.

    Cronkite has the distinction to be the only journalist ever to be voted in the top 10 on the U.S. News and World Report survey of the most influential decision-makers in America. He is also called the most trusted man in America and the most influential person in broadcasting.

    Robert Walz, assistant professor of communications at BYU, said that Cronkite earned these distinctions in television because of his reputation as a newspaper reporter.

    “Walter Cronkite was the first substantial journalist to make the crossover to television,” Walz said. “He was a newspaper man with a well-known reputation as a journalist. When he came to television he brought that credibility with him. That is why he was a pivotal person – he has made television news the credible source it is today.”

    As a journalist for more than 65 years, Cronkite is well-known for his 19 years with the CBS Evening News. As Cronkite started with the Evening News in 1962 the program was only 15 minutes, and a year later the Evening News broadcast was network televisions first 30-minute news broadcast.

    Typical of Cronkite”s career with the Evening News, his first broadcast was an exclusive interview with President John F. Kennedy. Two months later Cronkite was among the first announcing Kennedy”s assassination.

    Later with the Evening News, Cronkite covered the mission of Apollo XI by continuously broadcasting for 27 of the 30 total hours in space.

    Since retiring from the CBS Evening News in 1981, Cronkite works with PBS and cable companies to produce documentaries.

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