William Small, longtime DC bureau chief for CBS News, dies at 93

William Small, longtime DC bureau chief for CBS News, dies at 93
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Former CBS News Washington bureau chief William Small died on Sunday at the age of 93 after a brief illness unrelated to coronavirus, the news outlet said.

A statement from CBS News President Susan Zirinsky praised Small, who also served as president of NBC News, for his "heart of gold" and noted that he had given her a start in the business as an intern in 1972.

"Bill Small was a hero to journalism," she said. "He hired me as a 20 year-old college student to work the weekend desk in the Washington Bureau two weeks after the Watergate break-in."

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"He was tough as nails when it came to defending freedom of the press. He was strict, strong, and full of conviction. But the man had a heart of gold — which he only revealed one-third of the time," Zirinsky added.

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather added that Small consistently championed him in the face of pressure from the Nixon administration to cease his coverage of the Watergate break-in, which eventually led to former President Nixon's resignation.

"He defended me at every turn, including with the Nixon White House trying to get me fired," Rather said.

Both CBS News and Michael Freedman, chairman of the National Press Club, pointed to Small's efforts to champion women in the news industry as one of his greatest contributions to the business.

"[U]nlike anyone before him, he carved a path for women in journalism with the hiring of Lesley Stahl, Diane Sawyer, Connie Chung, Martha Teichner, Rita Braver, Susan Spencer and a 20-year old college student named Susan Zirinsky who today is president of CBS News, the first woman to hold the title at a major network," said Freedman.

"Like Murrow, he had the courage of his convictions and he achieved something that was quite extraordinary—he made a difference," Freedman added, referring to legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow.