Former Los Angeles TV news executive Bob Long died Monday at George Washington University Hospital in Washington. His television news career included stints as assignment editor and executive producer at KNXT Channel 2 here, managing editor and executive producer at KCOP Channel 13, and managing editor, VP and news director at KNBC Channel 4. He left NBC 4 in 2009 to teach journalism ethics in Istanbul. At the time of his death, he was a program analyst for the Voice of America. "One of the finest TV journalists I have ever known," former producer and news executive Pete Noyes says on Facebook.
Big From the VOA obituary:
A journalist, filmmaker, broadcasting executive and Combat Correspondent in the Marine Corps, Bob had a fascinating career developing motion picture scripts and serving in news rooms on the east and west coasts. He served as KNBC Vice President and News Director from 2003 to 2009 when he retired and accepted the teaching post in Istanbul. He had previously served at NBC as Vice President for News and Operations at the network’s owned station in Washington, DC (1999 to 2003). His prior television news experience included news gathering, production and management jobs at the CBS owned station in Los Angeles (1968-1975), UPN Television in Los Angeles (1991-1994), Disney Television in Los Angeles (1994-1997) and a first tour at the NBC Los Angeles flagship as managing editor before going to Washington as Vice President for News.
Long’s very early taste of what news reporting was like came when, at 14, he worked his way into Fidel Castro’s entourage during the revolutionary’s 1959 victory lap in Washington. By the time he got through high school, he was an office boy for Time Magazine’s Washington Bureau. Other early assignments included campus stringer for Time at Yale (he dropped out), writer for WWDC Radio in Washington, combat correspondent in the Marine Corps, and writer for The Associated Press. In 1975, Long left CBS to pursue an independent documentary film project in what was then Zaire, Africa. During the late 70s, Long produced a number of independent documentaries for network outlets in Los Angeles. In 1977, he became Series Producer for “In Search of…with Leonard Nimoy” and in 1979 became the Senior Field Producer for NBC’s “Real People”, a forerunner of today’s “reality” television. He was active in theatrical motion pictures as well, directing trailers or featurettes for “California Suite”, “Alien”, “Blade Runner”, and other major films. In 1984, he produced “Two Fathers: Justice”, an NBC movie of the week. He was building a motion picture studio in Turkey when the first Gulf War wiped out his financing. Long returned to television news in 1991.
In addition to a number of Emmys and Murrow Awards, Long received a Peabody Award in 2005 for investigative journalism. Long is also a recipient of the highest personal achievement award given by the Associated Press of California, and just this month was awarded the Presidential Award by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Long is a respected and popular figure among his former colleagues in Los Angeles — he is credited with naming the emeritus group News Geezers and took part in their events. Nobody seems to know exactly his age, but he was around 74. He had battled bone cancer, according to social media.