Justice Integrity Project — Issue 1028

 
 
 
 
 
Justice Integrity Blog Post

People Remembered: John Kelly, NBC, CBS Newsman, CIA Officer and JIP Co-Founder


 

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Introduction: The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) published this column about the late John Kelly, a co-founder and director of the Justice Integrity Project and longtime member of the OPC. The press club's membership also includes this editor.

John Kelly, below left, a longtime OPC member who combined an eventful career in broadcast network news with government service and a lifelong passion for journalism, died john kelly 1early this year at age 85 in Connecticut.

His career included work as a news editor and correspondent on the national staff of NBC News and CBS News. He was the last surviving reporter to have covered the 1960 Election Night victory party in Hyannis, Massachusetts of Democratic Presidential nominee John Kennedy, jfk nixon presidential debateshown below right in a poster with Republican rival Richard Nixon.

Kelly went on to cover civil rights stories, early 1960s operations in Laos, the FBI and the Watergate scandal. In doing so, he worked with such iconic anchors as Chet Huntley and David Brinkley at NBC Nightly News and Walter Cronkite at CBS News.

In one career interlude in the late 1960s, he worked for the CIA in Indochina during the Vietnam War. He later served during the 1970s in the administration of New York Gov. Hugh Carey as deputy commissioner and director of the State Office of Taxation and Finance, where he helped to unravel and expose to Congress corruption schemes that were hurting taxpayers.

In appreciation for John’s impressive career and inspiring personal qualities, Wayne Madsen and this editor collaborated last year in creating a 30-minute video homage, “Mr. Kelly Goes To Washington,” chronicling career highlights that recall the James Stewart film, with scenes from the Stewart film shown below.

The Kelly video was viewable only privately until now. But we make the video public on YouTube (linked here) for this column, particularly for OPC colleagues whom he so much admired. It primarily portrays the long-ago news events that Kelly covered and not his own role. That’s because his work habits encouraged him to focus constantly on his next story or civic project, and not collect an archive of personal clips and other memorabilia.

 
 
 
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