Anchor inspired generations of foreign correspondents
NEW YORK — CBS foreign correspondent Tom Fenton, who began his career with an exclusive interview of American hostages during the PLO’s first hijacking in 1970, will become the latest newsman from the net’s Tiffany era to retire.
“Tom Fenton is not only a close friend of long standing but also one of the very best journalists of his era,” said CBS News anchor Dan Rather.
Since the beginning of his career with CBS, Fenton, 74, has been based in foreign bureaus in London, Moscow, Paris, Tel Aviv and Rome.
His formal delivery style and reportorial skills influenced and inspired a generation of foreign correspondents. “Tom is considered an institution and rightly so,” Rather said.
Fenton was the first American correspondent to report on tensions building in Iran in the 1970s and the first to interview Ayatollah Khomeini. He returned to Tehran after the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy and, a decade later, returned to report on Khomeini’s funeral.
Fenton is a member of CBS’ journalistic “greatest generation,” most of whose remaining members are eligible to collect Social Security. Rather, also 74, announced he would step down from the anchor’s chair in March but remain a correspondent for “60 Minutes.”
Bruce Dunning, Asia bureau chief and 35-year CBS News veteran, retired last week. Legendary “60 Minutes” creator and executive producer Don Hewitt retired earlier this year.