CBS's Harold Dow, 62; brought human touch to difficult stories

Associated Press / August 23, 2010

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NEW YORK — Emmy-winning CBS News correspondent Harold Dow, who helped shape the documentary program “48 Hours’’ and covered the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has died. He was 62.

Mr. Dow died Saturday in New Jersey, network spokeswoman Louise Bashi said. He lived in Upper Saddle River, N.J. Further details were unavailable yesterday.

Mr. Dow had been a correspondent for “48 Hours’’ since 1990. His nearly 40 years with the network also included reporting for “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather’’ and “CBS News Sunday Morning.’’

A “48 Hours’’ report on runaways earned him a George Foster Peabody Award. He also won five Emmys, for work including coverage of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and of American troops’ movement into Bosnia in 1996.

“Insatiably curious, he was happiest when he was on the road deep into a story,’’ Susan Zirinsky, executive producer of “48 Hours Mystery,’’ said in a statement. “It was his humanity, which was felt by everyone he encountered, even in his toughest interviews, that truly defined the greatness of his work. He was the most selfless man I have known.’’

Mr. Dow landed an exclusive interview with kidnapping victim Hearst in December 1976, and he had the first network interview with O.J. Simpson following the 1994 killing of Simpson’s former wife. He barely escaped one of the falling twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, the network said.

Mr. Dow was a contributor to “48 Hours on Crack Street,’’ the 1986 documentary that led to the creation of the weekly “48 Hours.’’ Before that, he had been a coanchor on “CBS News Nightwatch’’ and a correspondent and reporter at the CBS News Los Angeles bureau. He started his career with the network as a broadcast associate in 1972.

As a coanchor and talk-show host for KETV in Omaha, he was the first African-American television reporter in that city.

He leaves his wife, Kathy, and their three children.