|Birth: ||Aug. 4, 1924, Philippines|
|Death: ||Sep. 11, 1974|
North Carolina, USA
Son of Hiram and Julia Bell Brown Merriman. John never married. At the time of his death, he was engaged to Eileen Vincent Summers, an English born writer and journalist.
John died when the Eastern Airlines jet he was a passenger on crashed while attempting to land at fog-shrouded Douglas Municipal Airport. 82 people lost their lives. The fact that 10 people survived was considered a miracle. Approaching Charlotte through fog, the twin-jet DC-9 crashed into a muddy cornfield, skidded for hundreds of feet and came to rest in a line of trees. The resulting fireball sent black smoke billowing skyward. It would be North Carolina's second-worst air disaster.
The following was written by Carol Joynt about the movie "Broadcast News"
"What the audience likely did not know is that Broadcast News is a very personal film, for [Jim] Brooks chiefly, who started out as a writer at CBS News in New York, but also for many of the staff in the Washington bureau of CBS News.
It was personal for me, too. Brooks and I met in the early 70s thanks to an incredible man named John Merriman. He was Walter Cronkite's long-time and esteemed editor on The CBS Evening News, where I was a writer. Merriman and Brooks met when Jim was a CBS News writer. After Jim departed for the West Coast and big success in the entertainment industry, they remained friends.
John was the eccentric's eccentric. I love him to this day. He arrived at work in the morning with a Sabrett's hot dog in hand, sat across from me on the set and discoursed lovingly about how many pork chops he had the night before, argued with me about any number of subjects, and smoked only one cigarette a day — at the end of the "live" broadcast — which he held flat in his palm like a character out of Casablanca.
What Jim and I both loved about John was his steadfast respect for the language. You couldn't hand in lazy writing to John Merriman. He'd throw it back before it ever got near Cronkite's script. What was lazy in John's view? Using the word "tragedy," for example. It wasn't for journalists to decide what was a tragedy, because that was subjective opinion.
We could use the more objective "disaster" or "catastrophe," but tragedy was verboten. The same for "meanwhile." Lazy writing. Not allowed. Whenever copy got handed in with the words, "there's a dark cloud over…" as in political turmoil in Moscow, he dramatically pretended to phone the graphics department. "Please get me a photo of that cloud over Moscow." Point taken.
Thanks to Merriman, Jim Brooks and I met in Los Angeles. It was the height of the success of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which he created with Allan Burns. He brought me on the set, introduced me to the cast, and invited me to watch a rehearsal. We stayed in touch over the years — particularly in 1974 when our dear friend John was killed in a plane crash in Charleston, SC [Charlotte, NC]. For us his death was a tragedy."
The John Merriman Award for Study in Broadcast Journalism at American University honors John Merriman who was WGAE president and also news editor of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite when he was killed in the crash of an Eastern Airlines jet in Charlotte, N.C. in 1974. The award honors Merriman's passion for good grammar, writing, and journalism, and supports the graduate broadcast program founded by CBS News colleague and friend, Ed Bliss. Walter Cronkite presented the first Merriman Award in 1975.
"One can honor [his] legacy by helping to ensure that broadcast journalism doesn't lose its relevance, that it embraces and adapts to a multimedia world, and seizes the unique window of opportunity that resides in the current media landscape,"
William Hiram Merriman (1894 - 1968)
Julia Bell Brown Merriman (1890 - 1982)
South Carolina, USA
Maintained by: robin pellicci moore
Originally Created by: Barbara Lehman
Record added: Nov 19, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61886469