Editors note: This was Keith Olbermann's tribute to David Bloom, one year ago, April 6, 2003.
The true reporter is not the one who tells one story well once. The true reporter is the one who can tell the same story well 100 nights in row.
The true reporter is not the one who requires the sensation of scandal to hype the truth. The true reporter is the one who will strip away the sensational to protect the truth.
The true reporter is not the one who uses technology in lieu of the facts. The true reporter is the one who can harness technology to display the facts.
David Bloom was the true reporter. There‘s no doubt that reporting on the Iraq war was his greatest work yet. There is no doubt this is how he will be remembered, racing across the desert live, informed, unflappable, in a device largely of his own design, filing, since this war began, as many as 13 live reports a day, plus countless others on phone and on tape.
Words and images David brought us were new, invaluable to our understanding not merely of the facts of a war but of the truth of all war. Yet for David Bloom, only the sand was truly new.
The true reporter conveys us, transports us to wherever he is. And unlike many of the other true great reporters, David Bloom‘s ability to bring us there with him was not limited to the earth shattering or terrible this was not a one-dimensional man afraid to show the silly alongside the serious.
And most importantly this was not the cliched reporter of fiction bereft of roots or family or when the story stopped, of a life. That his death may be a metaphor for awful the reality of war, of this war, cannot be denied. That a friend and colleague, a catalyst for all of this organization does, has left us, cannot be forgotten. That a true reporter has been lost, cannot be escaped. Would, that it were all only that.
A starker more terrible truth is simpler, yet indescribably more profound— David Bloom is gone.