Montana Native, NBC News Veteran Remembered

Brian Williams delivered a tribute to Montana native and NBC News veteran Don Oliver.  Oliver passed away earlier this week at the age of 76.  

Here’s the clip from NBC Nightly News: (h/t Denise Dowling) 

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The University of Montana is also remembering Oliver this week, a close friend to the school.  

From The School of Journalism website:”NBC News Veteran Don Oliver Dies at 76

Here’s an excerpt:

University of Montana Journalism School graduate, professor and friend Don Oliver died May 28th in Spokane, Wash. Don was a Billings native who rose to prominence covering many of the seminal events of the 1970s and ’80s as a correspondent for NBC News. He was 76.

Don was born July 14, 1936, in Billings to Foster “Chat” and Lucille Oliver. His father’s job as a civil engineer required the family to move frequently, thus in his first six years of school he attended eight schools in four states. The family settled in Billings and Don graduated in 1954 from Billings Senior High School.

He worked initially at the NBC station in Cleveland, then was political editor of KCRA in Sacramento, Calif., until 1965, when he took the post of news editor of KREM-TV in Spokane. NBC News soon elevated him to Midwest correspondent and his national and international reporting career took off. He was West Coast correspondent from 1969-’73, covering such stories as the Angela Davis and Charles Manson trials and student unrest at Berkeley; Far East correspondent, based in Tokyo, from 1974-’75, and West Coast correspondent, based in Los Angeles, from 1976-’91. He covered the assassination and funeral of Martin Luther King Jr., riots in Detroit and Cleveland, and wars in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Don was the first American correspondent allowed back in Vietnam after the fall, and he returned there a few years later to spend six weeks doing a series of reports for Nightly News. In 1976 he was assigned to the presidential campaign trail, covering both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Don covered a number of other critical stories, including the Middle East peace talks in 1977, and, over the next few years, Pope John Paul II’s trip home to Poland, the Economic Summit in Tokyo and the search for Southeast Asian refugees in the South China Sea. He reported on the war in El Salvador, the riots in the Philippines following the assassination of Benigno Aquino and fallout and murders from the drug war in Mexico, as well as the Mexico City earthquake. In the 1980s he devoted most of his time to environmental stories, though he was a political correspondent covering the 1984 presidential campaign from New Hampshire through the conventions, where he was one of four NBC floor reporters. He retired from full-time work with NBC in 1992 and devoted his time to media consulting, first for Hill and Knowlton in Los Angeles, and from 1997 until 2002 for his own firm, Oliver Communications.

Denise Dowling, Dean of The University of Montana School of Journalism, had this to say via Facebook:  

I first met Don in the 90s when I was working in Spokane and came out to Montana for an AP conference. He’s always been a huge supporter of the RTV (Radio-Television) department and the School of Journalism. We will miss him. 

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