Harold Dow Broke Nebraska Broadcasting Color Barrier
August 23, 2010
OMAHA: Harold Dow, the 62-year-old CBS correspondent
who died Saturday morning from a reported asthma attack, was the first African American
broadcast correspondent on the air in Nebraska. Dow joined ABC affiliate KETV-TV in Omaha
in 1968 when racial tensions in the Midwestern city and across the country were
at their peak. Lee Terry, Sr., was the news director.
“I used to go home at midnight after the newscast and there would be Harold Dow
with a tape recorder, and he insisted I listen to it and give it a critique,”
Dow recounted his start at KETV five years ago at the Omaha Black Music Hall of
“Lee put me on the air on the 6 o’clock news the very first day I arrived,” he
said. “When I got off the air after I stumbled through it, the switchboard was
all lit up and all these reporters were trying to explain to the Cornhuskers
what had just happened.”
Terry said he and Dow received death threats. He urged the new hire to soldier
on. Dow worked in Omaha for four years before moving to CBS. He would go on to
interview O.J. Simpson in the wake of Nicole Simpson’s murder, and he was said
to be the only reporter to interview Patty Hearst after her abduction.
Dow won the Gracie Allen Award of the Association of Women in Radio and
Television in 2001. He received a Peabody for his “48 Hours” report
on runaways, and a Robert F. Kennedy Award for a report on public housing. Dow
collected five Emmy Awards, including one in 1996 for a story on American troop
movement into Bosnia, and one in 1989 for distinguished reporting on his
coverage of the Pan Am Flight 103 disaster. He won the RTNDA’s Edward R. Murrow
Award for a “48 Hours” profile of Patti LaBelle and a third-place award
from the National Association of Black Journalists.
Dow was born in Hackensack, N.J., and attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
He is survived by his wife Kathy and their three children.
“Dow Remembered as Nebraska
Deborah D. McAdams