August 22, 1945 |
Kokomo, Indiana, U.S.
|Education||Syracuse University, 1967
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
|Children||John Conant Kroft|
Steve Kroft (born August 22, 1945) is an American journalist and a longtime correspondent for 60 Minutes. His investigative reporting has garnered him much acclaim, including three Peabody Awards and nine Emmy awards, one of which was an Emmy for Lifetime Achievement.
Born on August 22, 1945 in Kokomo, Indiana, Kroft attended Syracuse University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1967. At Syracuse, he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. After his graduation, he was drafted into the United States Army and served in the Vietnam War. He was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Cu Chi, where he was a reporter for the Armed Forces Network; he covered the Division's participation in the invasion of Cambodia. Kroft won several Army journalism awards for his work and a Bronze Star for Meritorius Achievement. When the Division was redeployed, he was reassigned to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes as a correspondent and photographer.
Shortly after receiving an honorable discharge from the army in 1971, he began his broadcast journalism career as a reporter for WSYR-TV in Syracuse, New York. Kroft returned to academics in 1974, enrolling at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and earning his master's degree in 1975. Upon graduation Kroft moved to Florida, where he worked for two stations owned by the Washington Post Company. As an investigative reporter for WJXT in Jacksonville, his reports on local corruption led to several grand jury investigations and established his reputation. In 1977 he moved to WPLG-TV in Miami, where his work came to the attention of CBS News.
Kroft joined CBS News in 1980 as a reporter in its Northeast bureau, based out of New York City. The next year, he was named a correspondent and the network soon moved him to its Southwest Bureau in Dallas, where he stayed until 1983. That year, Kroft returned to Florida after CBS reassigned him to its Miami bureau. He was soon making frequent visits to the Caribbean and Latin America, covering the civil war in El Salvador and the U.S. invasion of Grenada.
In 1984, Kroft landed a job as a foreign correspondent at CBS's London bureau, where he traveled extensively to cover stories in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Many of his assignments involved international terrorism and sectarian violence, including the hijackings of TWA Flight 847 and Achille Lauro, the Rome and Vienna airport attacks of the Abu Nidal Organization, the Lebanese Civil War, and the violence in Northern Ireland. His report for the CBS Evening News on the assassination of Indira Gandhi won him an Emmy. In 1986, CBS News brought Kroft back to the United States to become a principal correspondent on a new magazine show called West 57th. He stayed in that position until the program was cancelled in the spring of 1989.
That September, Kroft and Meredith Vieira, a West 57th colleague, joined 60 Minutes. In 1990, he became the first American journalist to be given extensive access to the contaminated grounds of the Chernobyl nuclear facility, and his story won an Emmy. After allegations of infidelity surfaced in the 1992 presidential election, then-Governor Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, gave an exclusive interview to Kroft. The interview was one of the defining moments in the election.
Kroft continued to file groundbreaking reports for 60 Minutes. A 1992 segment which detailed a friendly fire incident in the Gulf War won him his first Peabody Award. Two of Kroft's stories in 1994, a profile of Senator Bob Dole and an exposé on the Cuban government's quarantine policy for people infected with AIDS, won Emmy awards. In 2003, he and the rest of the 60 Minutes team were awarded Emmys for lifetime achievement.
Kroft's interview style is highly respected by Barack Obama, who has accordingly given Kroft a high degree of access. In 2008, Obama granted Kroft, who had interviewed him on five prior occasions, his first interview after being elected President of the United States. Kroft most recently interviewed him for an episode of 60 Minutes episode that aired on January 27, 2013.
Kroft has been corrected by Gallup.com about the statistics that he used when interviewing U.S. President Barack Obama on December 13, 2009. He specifically stated in the interview that "Most Americans right now don't believe this war's worth fighting". He then proceeded to question U.S. President Barack Obama, about why he was proceeding forward with the war without public support. Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport challenged his statement and presented data, that indicated that Americans were split on the war in Afghanistan.
In March 2009, Kroft asked Obama, who was laughing while discussing the recession, "Are you punch drunk?" http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20339.html
Regarding the interview of Obama and Hillary Clinton on January 27, 2013, Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic argues that Steve Kroft's softball interview technique diminishes 60 Minutes. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/01/steve-krofts-softball-obama-interviews-diminish-60-minutes/272611 Peggy Noonan, in a column entitled "So God Made a Fawner" in The Wall Street Journal, says that Steve Kroft's interview was as "soft as a sneaker full of puppy excrement." http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323452204578290363744516632.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop
He appeared as himself on an episode of Murphy Brown. He played himself again in Woody Allen's 2000 movie, Small Time Crooks, in which he interviewed Allen's character for a segment on 60 Minutes.
- 11-time Emmy Award winner including a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 2003
- 5-time Peabody Award winner
- 2-time Columbia University DuPont Award winner
- 1992 recipient of the George Arents Medal, the highest honor given to a Syracuse University alumnus
- Honorary Doctoral degrees from Indiana University; Binghamton University; and Long Island University.
- 2007 recipient of the Medallion of the University, the highest honor given by the University at Albany.
- 2009 List of George Polk Award Winners
- 2009 Gerald Loeb Award
- "Steve Kroft". CBS Broadcasting Inc. 1998-07-09. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- "Four to receive honorary degrees". Inside Binghamton University. 2000-05-18. Archived from the original on 2006-09-03. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- "UAlbany Honors 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft for Commitment to Journalistic Excellence". University of Albany New Release. 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- "Steve Kroft Biography". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- Rogers, Steve. "60 Minutes to Receive 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award for News & Documentary". The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- "Americans Split on Afghanistan Troop Increase vs. Decrease", Gallup, Jeffrey M. Jones, November 12, 2009
- "Steve Kroft". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- Taylor, Charles (2000-05-19). "Small Time Crooks". Salon.com. Retrieved 2006-11-16.