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Morley Safer, who just last week announced his retirement after sixty years as a journalist, most notably with "60 Minutes," which in turn devoted an hour on Sunday to recognizing his achievements, has passed away. He was 84, reportedly had been in declining health, and died from pneumonia.

Safer, who yearned for a career as a foreign correspondent after reading the works of Ernest Hemingway, first came to fame while covering the war in Vietnam for CBS News. When he moved over to the then-two-year-old "60 Minutes," replacing Harry Reasoner, he brought with him a talent for elegant writing, a wry wit, a talent for incisive profiles (of people like Jackie Gleason and Katherine Hepburn), and an ability to turn out stories like “Lenell Geter’s in Jail," in which his investigation of the conviction of a black man in Texas resulted in the man being freed and the conviction being tossed. He also wrote the famous "60 Minutes" story about the so-called French Paradox, which posited that the French were able to eat fatty food but avoid heart disease because of their consumption of red wine. Safer was never sentimental, always was willing to be combative when the moment called for it, and never seemed to settle for the easy line or the cheap shot.
KC's View:
If you want to spend an hour in the company of one of the nation's best broadcast journalists, go find last week's special "60 Minutes" tribute to Safer online. I found it to be utterly captivating.

When you look at the work that Safer, Mike Wallace and Ed Bradley turned out for "60 Minutes" over the years, the vast majority of it for founding producer Don Hewitt, it adds up to a remarkable legacy. Now, all of these guys are gone ... and while there are new reporters and producers working at "60 Minutes," I can't imagine that it'll ever be quite the same ... though I hope that they remember the four words that Hewitt used to say that were most important in the creation of the program: "Tell me a story."