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Former “Meet the Press” Moderator, New Orleans Journalist Dies

In Louisiana, NBC, New Orleans, Obits on February 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Bill Monroe (Courtesy: WWL-TV)

Bill Monroe, the Big Easy’s first news director  who later went on to work for NBC in Washington, D.C., died Thursday at the age of 90.

Monroe worked in radio and print journalism before making the jump to television, but did so without any previous experience. “It was the kind of thing that happened in those days,” Monroe told WWL-TV in a 1999 interview.

He was hired as WDSU-TV’s news director shortly after the station began broadcasting.

From WWL-TV:

His role as a pioneer in local television news was lauded by the Times-Picayune in a 1998 article: “What Murrow was to network TV, Monroe was to New Orleans TV: the journalistic standard-setter for generations of broadcasters.”

Monroe led WDSU’s early news staff as it covered the tumultuous times of the 1950s and 1960s, most notably through the period of school desegregation. Through weekly editorials, written and delivered by Monroe, the station stressed the importance of integrating New Orleans public schools, an unpopular stance at the time.

In later years, he became a Washington correspondent for NBC news and more famously as a producer/moderator of “Meet the Press.”

Services will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C.