The late Gabe Pressman (1924-2017) served as a broadcast reporter for more than 60 years and was the first TV street reporter in New York. Pressman was one of New York’s most respected journalists, known for his investigative reporting on politics and social issues with NBC New York. In his over half a century long tenure, Pressman covered major stories including the sinking of Andrea Doria, the Weinberger kidnapping on Long Island, the riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968, civil strife in Newark and New York in the late sixties, the Mayoral campaigns for Abraham Beame, William F. Buckley, John Lindsay, and the entrance of Robert F. Kennedy into New York politics. Pressman was responsible for a innumerable award-winning programs and series, including The War on Cancer (an investigation of the activities of the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society focusing on the politics of cancer); The Mood of America (a report on the 1976 presidential election); The Homeless: Shame Of A City; To Bear Witness (a half-hour special on the gathering of holocaust survivors in Jerusalem in the summer of 1981); A Crisis of Conscience (chronicled the 1982 turmoil within Israel over the massacre in the Lebanese refugee camps); the 1985 Democratic Presidential Primary Debate; and Ask The Governors (an open forum with Cuomo, Kean, and O’Neill telecast live in July 1983). Pressman’s many awards include 11 Emmy Awards; the 1989 Edward R. Murrow Award; the New York Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences 1986 Governors' Award; a 1985 Olive Award for Excellence in Broadcasting; a Peabody Award in 1984 for “Asylum In The Streets”; a Unity award from Lincoln University in 1981 for "Blacks And The Mayor: How Far Apart?"; the New York Press Club's Feature Award for "The Homeless" in 1982; the UPI New York State Broadcasters' Award for Best Feature News Story "The Homeless" in 1982; the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association Award for Excellence in Individual Reporting in 1982; the New York Chapter Of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi's Deadline Club Award for "The Hungry" in 1983; and two New York area Emmy Awards in 1983 for "The Homeless."
Gabe was particularly proud of his service to his country in the U.S. Navy. He enlisted at age 19 and served from 1943 - 1946. He participated in the Philippines Campaign including in the Battle of Leyte Gulf as a communications officer and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade (J.G.).
Gabe Pressman Student Fellowship
Training the next generation of public-interest reporters
Diversifying the New York City newsroom
Earlier this year, City Limits selected legendary NBC newsman Gabe Pressman for its 2017 Urban Journalism Award to honor his lifelong commitment to informing the public —a key mechanism to make democracy work. As friends, colleagues and admirers mourned Gabe's passing in June, they also celebrated his decades of service to the city.
We are proud to honor Gabe's legacy at the City Limits Gala on September 19th. and as a tribute to him will create journalism intern scholarships for aspiring young reporters from disadvantaged communities with a portion of funds raised at the event.
Since 2014, City Limits has operated a Youth Training Program in Public-Service Journalism, offering high school students in the Bronx paid after-school or summer work experience and training in the basics of investigative and metro reporting.
Interns attend public hearings, practice interview skills, crunch numbers from public databases, do sidewalk reporting at Election Day polling places, send FOIL requests to obtain key documents—all culminating in their writing stories that are published on City Limits. Their reports having included investigations on problems with NYC day-care regulations, barriers to fitness and nutrition in the Bronx, slow buses, litter hot-spots, the role of gun stores in gun smuggling operations, hassles faced by Bronxites in reporting crimes, and the 2017 City Council and public advocate campaigns. One 2016 story on obstacles encountered by inmates seeking public information to challenge their convictions won honors from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
A Chance to Make a Difference
The Youth Training in Public Service program runs in the spring and fall for 10 weeks, with a 4-week summer intensive. Interns are paid minimum wage, often their first paid job: The total cost per intern is approximately $1500 so we are seeking to raise $30,000 to endow the Gabe Pressman Youth Journalism Fellowship.
While we don’t expect that all of our interns will enter the journalism field as a career. We do hope that as students, citizens and leaders—they make a difference. Gabe Pressman certainly did, we’re proud to continue that legacy.