"Decades and decades and decades on the beat," said David Broder's son George, "and not a cynical bone in his body." Photograph courtesy of the Broder Family
When David Broder died in March, the tributes to the journalist—who seemed as much a part of Washington’s political landscape as the Capitol dome—poured in. Those who knew Broder through some of his 81 years reminisced about his commitment to his trade and his uncommon decency.
He had covered 13 presidential campaigns, made 401 appearances on Meet the Press, won a Pulitzer Prize, and written more than 4,000 Washington Post columns that were syndicated in some 300 newspapers.
But his eldest son opened a memorial service at the National Press Club in early April with words his father likely would have chosen:
“David S. Broder was a reporter.”
From college on, he never wanted to do anything else. Broder grew up outside Chicago and earned degrees in political science at the University of Chicago, where he edited the college newspaper and met his wife, Ann. After serving two years in the Army, he began his ascent as a political reporter, getting his start at the Bloomington, Illinois, Pantagraph before moving to Washington in 1955 to work for Congressional Quarterly and after that the Washington Star, the New York Times, and finally, starting in 1966, the Washington Post.
Considered the dean of the Washington press corps, he was immortalized by author Timothy Crouse in The Boys on the Bus as the “high priest of political journalism.”
Broder loved many things: the Chicago Cubs, theater, sitting on the deck of his summer cabin in Michigan with piles of journals and books, the Gridiron dinner, and his family—Ann and their four sons, George, Josh, Matt, and Mike, and his grandchildren. But at the core was his life’s work. “He experienced the world through one lens,” his son Matt said at the memorial service, “the intersection of politics and policy.”
We called on some of David Broder’s family, friends, and colleagues to tell his story.
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