America’s most-watched news program. The 73-year-old correspondent is currently the news magazine’s longest tenured reporter, having reported nearly 500 60 Minutes stories – many among the broadcast’s biggest moments.
Kroft, who arrived at CBS News in 1980, will announce his plans to step down this Sunday after the broadcast’s 51st season finale. The newsmag will celebrate his 50-year career with a tribute broadcast in September.
His last segment for the newsmag, airing this Sunday, is an investigation into bank fraud.
When Kroft came to 60 Minutes in 1989, he joined what CBS News is fond of calling its journalists’ Murderers’ Row – an all-male club that included Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Harry Reasoner and Ed Bradley. Kroft’s first assignment for the newsmag took him to radioactive Chernobyl.
Among Kroft’s career highlights: the interview with Bill and Hillary Clinton that CBS broadcast to 34 million people after the 1992 Super Bowl. Kroft’s resume also includes a sit-down with President-elect Barack Obama, that drew more than 25 million in November 2008 and remains the largest 60 Minutes audience since 1999, CBS News boasted. Kroft interviewed Obama 11 times as president.
His story on insider trading in the U.S. Congress drove the passage of the STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) of 2012. In today’s announcement the news division declared of his best reports to be his 2000 story on nuclear-armed Pakistan’s political instability.
Kroft’s career began in the U.S. Army as a correspondent-photographer for Pacific Stars and Stripes in Vietnam after his graduation from Syracuse University in 1967. He got his master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School in 1975, and worked in Jacksonville and Miami where he won local television awards for his reporting on political corruption and the thriving drug trade there. CBS News hired him in 1980; he was named a correspondent in 1981. Kroft covered the civil war in El Salvador and the invasion of Grenada before he was posted to the London Bureau, where he reported on European affairs and terrorism for CBS Evening News. That led to his being named principal correspondent for CBS News’ fledgling newmag West 57th – Kroft’s stepping-stone to 60 Minutes.