People Remembered: Maria Mercader

Left to right: Past President Allan Dodds Frank, Maria Mercader and Lilian King during the OPC’s 2020 Winter Party on Jan. 15. Photo: Chad Bouchard

The OPC is saddened to learn that OPC Foundation board member Maria Mercader, CBS network veteran who covered breaking news for nearly three decades, died from COVID-19 in a New York hospital. She had been on medical leave for an unrelated matter since the last week in February.

In an article on the CBS News website, Susan Zirinsky, CBS News president and senior executive producer, said of Mercader that “even more than her talents as a journalist, we will miss her indomitable spirit.”

“Maria was part of all of our lives. Even when she was hospitalized — and she knew something was going on at CBS, she would call with counsel, encouragement, and would say ‘you can do this.’ I called Maria a ‘warrior,’ she was. Maria was a gift we cherished.”

The piece also said Mercader was active in coordinating CBS News participation in the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Mercader started at CBS News in 1987 in the network’s Page Program, and went on to work on the CBS News foreign and national desks, where she helped to produce top stories, including the death of Princess Diana and the 9/11 attacks. She won a Business Emmy in 2004 for her work on a “CBS Sunday Morning” report on computer spam.

CBS posted a video remembrance, with a caption saying Mercader “was always a guiding spirit and a shining light. She battled health problems for decades, but she used her deep faith and her big smile to life up and inspire others.” Watch the video with a remembrance from Anthony Mason below.