Straight-Shooter Business

March 27, 2009

Bow-tied and all business, long-time TV news journalist, Irving R. Levine, died Thursday at the age of 86.

Levine was an original, who like Murrow, Cronkite, Howard K. Smith, to name a few, were themselves a trademark for excellence in news gathering — trench journalists.

Despite looking urbane and all-sophisticated up with a bow tie, Levine knew his shit.
(Illustration found here).

As if living a journalism story, Levine came up through the ranks, starting as an ‘obit’ writer with a Rhode Island newspaper in 1940, and although he’s far-more well known nowadays for business-related issues, he was a global correspondent for NBC News in the 1950s — the network made him its chief economic reporter in 1971 — producing all kinds of stories from Korea, the old USSR, Vietnam.
Levine was a straight-shooter business guy.
Paul Kangas with Nightly Business Report on PBS this evening:

Irving R. Levine didn’t just cover financial news, he pioneered it.
The bow-tie clad reporter had his own incisive style and dry delivery.
He shared it with viewers as an economics correspondent for NBC News for 45 years, reporting from more than two dozen countries.
He brought that insight to NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for more than a decade.
Looking back, much of what he told our viewers was right on the money.

He might have been dry, but he had a certain style.
I’d always snicker when Levine came on, but I’d watch and pay attention to his reports, though so-enjoying his sign-off, “This is Irving R. Levine,” heavy with dry-like authority with a certain tempo — serious with a side of hilarious:

During one economic slowdown, Johnny Carson quipped on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” that things were so bad that “I saw Irving R. Levine standing by the side of the freeway with a sign reading, ‘Will work for bow ties.’ ”
On another occasion, Carson noted that “NBC is cutting back so much, Irving R. Levine has to buy his bow ties at the Pee Wee Herman garage sale.”

When Levine starting covering the economics beat near four decades ago, business news was way down on the scale of importance — currently it’s ALL the news and ALL tied in one hell of a gnarly bow.

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