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R.I.P. pioneering journalist Cokie Roberts

Photo: Stephen Lovekin (Getty Images)

Cokie Roberts, the award-winning veteran journalist and political commentator, has died due to complications from breast cancer. Her family confirmed her death in a statement on Tuesday morning to her longtime home network, ABC: “We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness. We are hopeful that Cokie now goes to join her parents, former Members of Congress Hale and Lindy Boggs, her siblings Barbara, Tom and William, who predecease her, and her God.” She was 75 years old.

Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs was born on December 27, 1943 to Lindy and Hale Boggs, who were both Democratic members of Congress. Roberts received the name “Cokie” from her older brother, who had difficulty pronouncing Corrine. Upholding a family-wide interest in politics and Washington, Roberts earned a B.A. in Political Science at Wellesley College in 1964. Two years later she married fellow Steven V. Roberts, who she met in 1962 and would also become a journalist.

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Roberts began her career in radio as a foreign correspondent for CBS in the ‘70s. In 1978 she began working for NPR, where she became the congressional correspondent for more than a decade. She was also a contributor to PBS’ The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, where her coverage of the Iran-Contra Affair won her an Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting in 1988. Roberts went on to become a political correspondent for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings while continuing to contribute part-time to NPR.

In 1992, Roberts would become the senior news analyst and commentator for NPR, then became a co-anchor for her own Sunday morning broadcast This Week with Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts on ABC from 1996 to 2002. On top of curating and providing in-depth insight for the most prominent political developments of her time, she was a best-selling author of eight books, including 2004's Founding Mothers and 2008's Ladies Of Liberty. Roberts is survived by her husband of 53 years, her two children, and six grandchildren.

Roberts spoke about her love of journalism to Kentucky Educational Television in 2017, calling the opportunity to report the news a privilege. “It is such a privilege – you have a front seat to history,” says Roberts. “You do get used to it, and you shouldn’t, because it is a very special thing to be able to be in the room… when all kinds of special things are happening.”

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