Bob Edwards, the Walter Cronkite of the Baby Boom Generation

February 16, 2024

I was working on the final draft of my Ph.D. dissertation in the spring of 2004 when I heard that Bob Edwards was being fired from his job at NPR. The notion that he was too old to serve as a drawing card depressed me, not least because I had been on the academic job market, and I had had only two job interviews, and one job talk at that point. In 2005, I did not get a single job interview, even with a Ph.D. degree in hand,

Edwards was not that old when he lost the only job he’d known for almost a quarter century. He was born, after all, the same year I was. The announcement of his death very close to twenty years after NPR and he went separate ways hits home because our lives shared an awareness of the same major points of cultural and political demarcation.

Of all of his interviews, one I recall in particular was with a homeless man in a park in Washington, D.C. The compassion in his voice was as palpable as the the contradictory altruism and abjection of the man he was interviewing. Rarely have I ever heard a conversation in which so much inner anguish has been revealed with such subtle urgency.

Maybe somewhere there’s a tape: “The Best of Bob Edwards.” If I ever get to retire completely from my job, I’d love to spend a few days listening to it.

R.I.P., Mr. Edwards.

Robert Alan Edwards (May 16, 1947 – February 10, 2024)’’

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