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January 12, 2004

RTNDA and RTNDF Mourn Loss of Martin Haag

WASHINGTON--The Radio-Television News Directors Association and the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation mourn the loss of longtime member and former news director and Belo executive Martin Haag. Haag, who was 69, died of a stroke on January 10.

Haag, a member of RTNDA since 1976, served as news director for WFAA-TV in Dallas from 1973 to 1989, before being promoted to senior vice president/news of the broadcast division at Belo, where he oversaw the news product at WFAA and 18 other stations. He retired from Belo in 2000.

In 1999, RTNDF presented Haag with the First Amendment Service Award for his lifetime commitment to high standards of journalistic excellence. Scott Pelley of CBS, who once worked for Haag at WFAA, presented the award. In his remarks, Haag called for a return to the beat system in newsrooms in order to provide viewers and listeners with more in-depth, quality reporting. "What about economics, the state legislature, religion, growth, medicine, technology-are you covering those beats?" Haag asked 400 journalists in the audience. Haag summoned his colleagues to "raise the jump bar" and to run more thoughtful-and less sensational-news. "Journalism excellence and civic service come first," he said.

"Marty Haag was one of the best and brightest the television news business has ever known," says Barbara Cochran, RTNDA president. "Under his guidance, many young people acquired the skills and standards that assured their success as broadcast journalists. Even after retiring as a full-time news executive, Marty continued sharing his wisdom as a teacher, consultant and advisor to a new generation. The industry has lost a true leader."

RTNDA is the world's largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. RTNDA represents local and network news executives in broadcasting, cable and other electronic media in more than 30 countries.

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