Bob Brown named 2012 Communication Hall of Fame inductee

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bob Brown, former Tulsa broadcaster and correspondent for ABC News and 20/20 for almost 30 years, has been named the 2012 inductee into The University of Tulsa Communication Hall of Fame.

Bob Brown

Brown (BS '68) began his broadcast career at KRMG in July 1960. From there he moved on to KAKC and eventually to his first television job at KOTV.

Brown was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968. Upon his discharge, he returned to the staff at KOTV. In 1973, he began a four-year stint in Texas, which included anchor positions at KHOU-TV in Houston and WFAA-TV in Dallas. In August 1977, he moved to New York where he began his career as an ABC News correspondent.

He spent his early years at ABC as a New York-based correspondent for ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters. His assignments included stories on the first test-tube baby, the Irish Republican Army, the death of Pope Paul VI and the 1980 Winter Olympics.

In 1980, Brown was transferred to the staff of the news magazine 20/20, where he remained until his retirement in 2009. During his time with the program, he received six Emmy awards, the Investigative Reporters Award and the prestigious Alfred I. DuPont Award for a story involving a desperately wounded Vietnam soldier and the Army surgeon who helped save his life.

Brown was also given the National Headliner Award for an Outstanding Feature by a Television Network for a story concerning Holocaust survivors in a West German town. He was a member of the ensemble of reporters who won a George Foster Peabody Award for their 24-hour ABC News special on the dawn of the new millennium.

Many of his stories have inspired Hollywood screenplays. Films based on his stories include Fly Away Home, about an inventor who led a flock of geese on a migration from Canada; Door-to-Door, about a salesman with cerebral palsy; and The Pursuit of Happyness, for which Will Smith received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Brown’s correspondent work has taken him all over the globe, including trips to every continent except Antarctica. His world stories have included reporting on the mass killings of members of the Baha’i faith in Iran and his investigation of the life of man who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in Turkey.

Brown also received international acclaim for his extensive work and coverage of the Iron Curtain. In Moscow, he witnessed and reported on an extraordinary meeting between veterans of the Vietnam War and Soviet veterans of the Afghan conflict. He also reported on a man from Rostov-on-Don, believed at the time to be the world’s worst serial killer, whose crimes were kept secret by the Soviet political system.

"Bob Brown is a national figure who brought fascinating investigative journalism to the country for decades. Yet, many Tulsans can remember him from his days on KOTV before he was ever on 20/20," said TU Communication Department Chair Mark Brewin. "We take a lot of pride in the prestigious alumni who have come out of the university’s Department of Communication, and Mr. Brown is no exception. It is a great honor to bring him back to Tulsa to commemorate his many accomplishments throughout his broadcast career."

Past inductees to the TU Communication Hall of Fame include broadcast journalists Jim Hartz and Bob Losure, the late Tulsa World managing editor Phil Dessauer, the late Tulsa broadcast pioneer Saidie Adwon, Tulsa public relations leader Steve Turnbo, and Tulsa World publisher Robert Lorton.

Suzy Thompson