NBC's David Bloom, 39, dies in Iraq
to gates of Baghdad
with 3rd Infantry Division
NBC's David Bloom, reporting from the 3d Infantry Division's column in southern Iraq.
By Michael Moran
NEW YORK, April 6- David Bloom, an NBC News correspondent embedded with the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division outside Baghdad, died Sunday, NBC announced. Bloom, a 39-year-old husband and father of three, was the second American journalist to die in Iraq since the war began. His death was not combat related, according to NBC News.
Bloom has reported on many top stories for NBC and served as White House correspondent, 'Weekend Today' anchor and field reporter.
BLOOM had been co-anchor of the weekend editions of "Today" since March 2000. In his nearly 20-year career, Bloom covered many top stories for NBC News, most recently reporting from Israel on the escalating violence in the Middle East and from the U.S. on home front security and the recovery efforts at Ground Zero in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In his most recent assignment-traveling with the 2nd Battalion, 315 Mechanized Unit of U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division in its push toward Baghdad-Bloom scored what many believe to be a first: broadcasting live reports as the American armored column he was traveling with fought its way north through the Iraqi desert.
Bloom and crew covered the war as no other: on a specially modified M-88 tank recovery vehicle that allowed them to file live reports during the divisions campaign from Kuwait to the outskirts of Baghdad. Bloom's reports from Iraq for NBC News, MSNBC TV and MSNBC.com drew attention to him and his news organization.
Howard Kurtz, the media critic of The Washington Post, noted Bloom's coverage for its "boyish enthusiasm."
"Bloom is seen zipping through the desert so often that he's become Iraq's unofficial travel guide," Kurtz wrote in a March 25 review of war coverage.
Technology journals immediately picked up on the significance of Bloom's live, on-the-move reports, made possible in large part because of the foresight and ingenuity of Bloom himself.
"He was very involved in the whole process," said Stacy Brady, NBC's vice president of network news operations, who helped modify the armored vehicle that quickly acquired a sobriquet-the "Bloommobile."
"Just from his reporting experience, he added in a lot of requirements or needs that he thought would be essential for this to work," she said.
Bloom and his cameraman mounted a gyrostabilized camera-the kind that's mounted on helicopters-to produce jiggle-free video even when the M-88 was bumping along at 50 mph or more. Then the sharper-than-videophone signal was sent via microwave to a converted Ford F-450 crew-cab truck, two to 10 miles farther back in the column. An antenna on the truck transmitted the signal in real-time from its own gyrostabilized platform to an overhead satellite, which relayed it to NBC.
The truck was converted by the Maritime Telecommunications Network, right down to the custom-designed Goodyear tires.
"They're soft and mushy, so they just ooze through the sand," said Richard Hadsall, founder of Maritime Telecommunications Network and the company's chief technology officer.
FROM O.J. TO THE WHITE HOUSE
Prior to joining "Today," Bloom covered the Republican presidential race for NBC News and served as White House correspondent since March 1997. He reported from the White House for NBC News broadcasts, including "Nightly News with Tom Brokaw," "Today," MSNBC-NBC's 24-hour news and information network-and CNBC.
Before being named White House correspondent, Bloom was a Los Angeles-based correspondent for NBC News since May 1995. In that capacity, he reported extensively on the Unabomber, the Freeman standoff and the war in Bosnia. He also covered Bob Dole's 1996 Presidential campaign and the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials.
Bloom joined NBC News as a correspondent based in Chicago in 1993. He previously had been a general assignment and investigative reporter for WTVJ, the NBC-owned television station in Miami, since November 1989. While at WTVJ, Bloom contributed many reports to NBC News broadcasts. He provided extensive coverage of the U.S. military buildup off Haiti for "NBC Nightly News" and "Today."
He contributed a report about the police investigation and capture of a Florida serial killer for "Dateline NBC" and reported from Cuba during "Today's" trip to that country in 1991. He also covered other major news stories such as Hurricanes Andrew and Emily, the Somali famine, the Midwest floods, the siege by federal agents of the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas, the escape of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and the coup that led to a U.S. intervention in Haiti.
Bloom was a co-recipient of the 1992 George Foster Peabody Award and received RTNDA's Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of Hurricane Andrew. He received a 1991 Regional Emmy Award for Investigative Journalism for his report on South Florida's role in the shipment of arms to Iraq.
Bloom attended Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. from 1981 to 1985. A native of Edina, Minn., Bloom is survived by his wife, Melanie, and three daughters, 9-year-old twins Nicole and Christine, and three-year-old Ava.
MSNBC.com's Alan Boyle contributed to this report.
Apr 6, '03
Pulmonary embolism. This is so sad!
He was probably dehydrated, sitting for long periods in hummers, developed a clot...just a guess....wow.
Last edit by Furball on Apr 6, '03