CBS News Vet Bruce Dunning Retires

Bruce Dunning CBS

Bruce Dunning, whose 35-year career at CBS News included work as an assignment editor, correspondent, producer and, ultimately, Asia bureau chief, will retire in December.

In addition to extensive reporting from throughout Southeast Asia during the Vietnam war, for which he was the recipient of two Overseas Press Club Awards, Dunning's career is also distinguished by having served as CBS News' first correspondent in its Beijing bureau and being one of the first American broadcast journalists to report from North Korea.

Most recently, he was chief of the CBS News Asia bureau, located in Tokyo, since August 1989. He was responsible for supervising CBS News operations throughout Asia.

"Bruce Dunning is the embodiment of the finest CBS News traditions: dedication to straight, honest reporting; devotion to the craft of journalism; an eye and an ear for the telling detail and the human touch that make a story memorable and true," said CBS News President Andrew Heyward.

"On a personal note, I was a producer at a local station in New York when Bruce's . That extraordinary piece of journalism was quite literally an inspiration to me, as I'm sure it was to many others – a benchmark for television reporting at its absolute best. It has been an honor to call Bruce a friend and a colleague for more than two decades."

"Bruce Dunning's report from Danang about the American exodus is not only one of the most memorable moments in the long and storied history of CBS News, it is also one of the most memorable in the history of all American journalism," said colleague Dan Rather. "Bruce dedicated himself to steady, accurate, persistent, old-fashioned reporting. He studied hard, becoming one of the most knowledgeable journalists in the world about Asia, steeped in its history, its cultures and languages. He took every tough, dirty, thankless assignment and made the most of it. Those of us who worked with him saw it many times, not just in the jungles of Vietnam, but also in the mountains of Korea, the deserts of India and in hundreds of hellhole datelines long since forgotten. No CBS News correspondent – living or dead – has more of my respect than does Bruce."

60 MINUTES Correspondent Ed Bradley, who replaced Dunning in Vietnam, said, "I remember his story on the last flight from Danang during the final days in the fall of Vietnam. Bruce's reporting of the takeoff of that flight with people hanging from the stairs and running down the runway trying to board a moving plane was as memorable as anything that came out of Vietnam during all of the years of that war."

Before the Asia bureau assignment, Dunning was assigned to Seoul, South Korea, as a field producer preparing for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games (January 1988-August 1989). He also covered the last days before the death of Emperor Hirohito and was in Beijing to cover the historic visit of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the subsequent uprising in Tiananmen Square. Dunning also was part of the CBS News team that visited North Korea in July 1989, the first such visit there since 1979. He spent two months covering the 1991 Gulf War from Dubai, Tel Aviv, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Previously, Dunning was assistant bureau manager for CBS News' Miami bureau (1983-88), where he covered news events throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as south Florida. During that time, he worked frequently in Central America covering the insurgent wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador. He also made two trips to the Persian Gulf in 1987 to cover the conflict between Kuwaiti tankers and Iranian warships.

Dunning joined CBS News in July 1969 as a reporter/assignment editor in New York after working as a freelance reporter in Paris since the previous December. He was named a CBS News correspondent in July 1972 while based at the CBS News bureau in Saigon (June 1970-November 1972). Dunning returned to Southeast Asia in 1975 to cover the final days of American involvement in Vietnam and Cambodia prior to the collapse of those governments. He and his crew won an Overseas Press Club Award for their report, "Back From Danang," which captured in vivid detail the frenetic and desperate atmosphere surrounding the last flight of refugees out of Danang on March 29, 1975. He also was a member of the CBS News team honored by the OPC that year for its overall coverage of the fall of Cambodia and Vietnam. He returned to Vietnam to cover the 10th and 20th anniversaries of the fall of the South Vietnam regime.

Dunning was assigned to the division's Tokyo bureau in 1972, until he became CBS News' first correspondent in its Beijing bureau in 1981. In 1979, he was one of the first American broadcast journalists to report from North Korea.

Prior to his broadcast journalism career, Dunning was features editor for the International Herald Tribune in Paris (1966-69) and a reporter and the entertainment editor of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times (1963-66).

He was born in Rahway, N.J. Dunning, 64, was graduated from Princeton University in 1962 with a B.A. degree in English and from Columbia University in 1963 with an M.S. degree in journalism. He also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris (1967-68).
  • Mike Sims

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