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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, died of an apparent pulmonary embolism, the company said. He was the second American journalist to die in Iraq since the war began.
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.
Bob Wright, NBC’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a note to his staff: “In times like these, a journalist’s contribution to his country is measured in terms of illustrious commitment and sacrifice... There was no one more devoted to his calling than David Bloom and for that we are both grateful and humbled.”
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.
NBC News President Neal Shapiro said of Bloom that “over the past few weeks, we marveled as he demonstrated a tireless devotion to this story. At this incredibly difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family and all of our brave colleagues who remain overseas.”
I was shocked to read that Bloom died, since I was actually familiar with who he was just by the mention of his name. I don't have much more to say, but still shocked to read this.