Since 1962, when Dan Rather first joined CBS News, he has handled some of the most challenging assignments in journalism. His day-to-day commitment to substantive, fair and accurate news reporting and his tough, active style have earned him a position of respect among his peers and the public.
For Rather, 1998 began with the Pope's visit to Cuba in early January, an assignment which was cut short by a dramatic turn of events in Washington D.C., when news broke of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Rather flew to the nation's capital to cover the first few days of what would be a year-long story ending in February 1999 with the impeachment of President Clinton by the House of Representatives.
With the Lewinsky scandal dominating headlines in 1998, Washington was a frequent dateline for Rather, who was also there to cover the State of the Union Address in late January.
In September, Rather was on the scene in New Orleans when Hurricane Georges struck the Gulf Coast. This was followed in November by coverage of the mid-term elections which Rather anchored from New York, and which bore the mark of his now much-anticipated "Rather-isms."
Rather also contributes reports to CBS News' 60 Minutes II, which premiered in January 1999. As a correspondent for the broadcast, Rather secured an exclusive interview with President Clinton on March 31, 1999. It was the president's first sit-down interview since the Lewinsky scandal and his own impeachment. Rather interviewed first lady Hillary Clinton in another exclusive interview on May 26, 1999, her first wide-ranging one since January 1998.
Rather was the first U.S. anchor on the scene in Belgrade in the middle of NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia, reporting for several CBS News broadcasts, including the CBS Evening News. While there, he interviewed Professor Mira Markovic, the wife of President Slobodan Milosovic and a political powerhouse in her own right. The interview was broadcast on 60 Minutes.
In 1997, Rather's ongoing reporting on the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was highlighted by exclusive interviews with the brother and wife of accused accomplice Terry Nichols and McVeigh lawyer Stephen Jones.
Rather's moving interview with a grieving Bill Cosby following the murder of his son, Ennis, made headlines around the world and helped focus national attention not only on the crime but on Ennis' contributions to special education.
In May, Rather returned to his roots in two ways: he conducted a rare interview with playwright Horton Foote, a fellow native of Wharton, Texas, for CBS News Sunday Morning, and he launched a syndicated weekly newspaper column, "Part of Our World," harking back to his early days in journalism as a print reporter.
Rather traveled to Hong Kong in June to anchor CBS News' coverage of the colony's turnover to Chinese rule. He also made another trip to China, traveling by train deep into the heartland of boomtowns and rice paddies and recalling his previous reports from China on events ranging from President Richard M. Nixon's historic visit in 1972 to the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
He was again anchoring from overseas in September, covering the funerals of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa.
On a more personal note, August saw the dedication of Rather's birthplace as part of the Wharton County Historical Museum.
In 1996, the year that marked the 15th anniversary of his tenure as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, Rather covered his 11th presidential campaign. He also traveled to Moscow to report on the Russian elections.
In 1995, Rather made two trips to the front lines in Bosnia, reporting on American peacekeeping troops. He first began reporting from the region a quarter-century ago. There he had unparalleled access to the political and military leaders of this bloody struggle, as well as the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.
October 1995 found Rather literally once more in the eye of the storm, reporting on Hurricane Opal as it approached the Florida shore while two producers "anchored the anchor," clinging to his arms and legs during the ferociously high winds.
He reported on the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin from Jerusalem and was the only American anchor on site at Rabin's funeral in November.
Also in 1995, he covered the 50th anniversary of V-E Day from London, then followed President Bill Clinton to Russia to cover the Moscow summit. He made incisive contributions to four CBS Reports documentaries: "In the Killing Fields of America," "Victory in Japan" with retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, "The Religious Right" and "The Gulf War 5."
He also anchored and contributed reports to all three of the CBS News broadcasts on the Smithsonian Institution, at one point dropping miles beneath the surface of the sea to study the ocean floor.
Rather began 1994 with a trip to Eastern Europe for reports on the rise of neo-fascism in the former Soviet Bloc, on the civil war in the Georgian Republic and on President Clinton's first Russian summit.
He spent most of April in South Africa, covering that country's first attempt at true democracy and interviewing candidates of all the major parties in the elections. He went to the Middle East just before the Palestinians moved into Gaza and the West Bank and conducted interviews with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
His reporting from Haiti was perhaps Rather's most memorable of the year. The only network anchor on the scene before and during the crisis, he was in the thick of the action, obtaining several exclusive interviews with Haiti's military leader, Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras.
He has interviewed every United States president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Bill Clinton and virtually every major international leader of the past 30 years. In 1990, he was the first American journalist to interview Saddam Hussein after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
In October 1994, Rather was honored by his alma mater, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, which named its journalism and communications building after him.
Rather's most recent book is Deadlines & Datelines (1999), a collection of essays. He also has published an abridgment of Mark Sullivan's landmark popular history, Our Times: America at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century. In addition, he is the author of The Camera Never Blinks Twice: The Further Adventures of a Television Journalist (1994), I Remember (1991), The Camera Never Blinks (1977), and The Palace Guard (1974).
In addition to his weekly newspaper column, he continues to be a much-sought-after contributor to many of the top newspapers and magazines in the country and speaks out frequently on journalistic ethics.
Since the start of his career in 1950, Rather has been in the middle of the world's defining moments. From Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas, when Rather worked around the clock to keep the American people informed of the details of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, to Beijing, Bosnia, Haiti and Hong Kong more than two decades later, he has covered most of the world's major news stories. His reporting on the civil rights movement in the South, the White House, the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and Yugoslavia and the quest for peace in South Africa and the Middle East has showcased his combination of street smarts and astute analysis.
He has received virtually every honor in broadcast journalism, including numerous Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award and citations from critical, scholarly, professional and charitable organizations. He is regularly cited as "best anchor" in opinion surveys.
During his 35 years with CBS News, Rather has held many prestigious positions, ranging from co-editor of 60 Minutes to anchor of CBS Reports and anchor of the weekend and weeknight editions of the CBS Evening News. He has served as CBS News bureau chief in London and Saigon and was the White House correspondent during the Johnson and Nixon administrations.
Since March 9, 1981, Rather has served as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News. He has also anchored and reported for 48 Hours since its premiere on Jan. 19, 1988. His regular contributions to CBS News Radio include Dan Rather Reporting, a weekday broadcast of news and analysis, which has been presented on the CBS Radio Network since March 9, 1981.
Rather joined CBS News in 1962 as chief of its Southwest bureau in Dallas. In 1963, he was appointed chief of the Southern bureau in New Orleans, responsible for coverage of news events in the South, Southwest, Mexico and Central America. During that time, he reported on racial conflicts in the South and the crusade of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas, he broke the news of the death of President John F. Kennedy.
Rather began his career in journalism in 1950 as an Associated Press reporter in Huntsville, Texas. Later, he was a reporter for United Press International (1950-52), KSAM Radio in Huntsville (1950-53), KTRH Radio in Houston and the Houston Chronicle (1954-55). He became news director of KTRH in 1956 and a reporter for KTRK-TV Houston in 1959. Prior to joining CBS News, Rather was news director for KHOU-TV, the CBS affiliate in Houston.
He was born Oct. 31, 1931 in Wharton, Texas. In 1953, he received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Sam Houston State Teachers College, where he spent the following year as a journalism instructor. He also attended the University of Houston and the South Texas School of Law.