Gabe Pressman, the legendary television newsman whose career started as a cub reporter in Westchester before a half-century-long tenure at WNBC News 4, died Friday at the age of 93.
"This is an incredibly sad day for the WNBC family. Gabe Pressman was a television icon who served our viewers for more than 50 years," Eric Lerner, WNBC president and general manager, said in a statement. "He was truly one of a kind and represented the very best in television news reporting. Gabe was still coming to work and thinking about the next story. He was a treasured colleague and friend to all of us and he will be missed. We extend our deepest condolences to the Pressman family during this difficult time."
During his time on TV, which began on July 1, 1941, Pressman compiled an impressive record of investigative reporting focusing on politics and social issues, said WNBC.
Considered the first TV reporter in New York, Pressman attended Morris High School and worked as a cub reporter for the Peekskill Evening Star during summer vacations, WNBC reported.
The station said Pressman "invented the craft of street reporting," and is considered one of the most respected journalists in the state.
News of his passing brought a swift outpouring of condolences from many including New York Mayor de Blasio, who tweeted condolences, calling Pressman "a New York City treasure" who mentored "countless reporters."
Lester Holt with NBC Nightly News tweeted: "Joining my friends at WNBC in NY in mourning loss of Gabe Pressman. Broadcast news pioneer and role model to generations of news people."
Steve Scott, president of the New York Press Club, issued a statement calling Pressman "a tenacious seeker of truth" who fought "ferociously for journalists' rights" and tirelessly defended the First Amendment of the Constitution, reported WNBC.
Pressman dedicated his life journalism after graduating from the Columbia School of Journalism in 1947 and has covered virtually every major news story including everything from the New York City blackout, the riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968 to the assassination of Malcolm X, the music of Woodstock and the horror of Sept. 11.
During World War II Pressman was a combat naval officer and served as a submarine communications officer in the South Pacific.
The beloved newsman won many awards throughout his career including 11 Emmy Awards; the 1989 Edward R. Murrow Award; the New York Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences 1986 Governors' Award; a 1985 Olive Award for Excellence in Broadcasting; a Peabody Award; a Unity Award from Lincoln University; the New York Press Club's Feature Award; the UPI New York State Broadcasters' Award for Best Feature News Story; the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association Award for Excellence in Individual Reporting; the New York Chapter Of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi's Deadline Club Award; and two New York area Emmy Awards, said WNBC.
Arrangements have not been formalized at this time.