Longtime journalist and groundbreaking television news executive, John Corporon, has died at the age of 92. In a career filled with accomplishments, Corporon is well known for his multiple roles in journalism. He was the President of both the AP Broadcast Board and the Overseas Press Club. In the late 60’s, John founded WNEW’s 10 o’clock news, the first 10pm newscast in New York City. He also served as V.P/News director at WPIX for twenty four years. A Brooklynite, Corporon died at his Park Slope home surrounded by his family.
John, who was also known as Jack, was born in Arcadia, Kansas on March l, 1929. The youngest of nine children, he attended Arcadia High School, which he graduated from in 1947. Corporon then attended Pittsburgh State University from 1947-1949, where he met a young student named Harrriett Sloan. Harriett would later become his wife of 63 years.
John continued his education at the University of Kansas from 1949-1953, where he received a B.A. in Journalism as well as a Masters Degree in Political Science. Later that year he was drafted into the army and served for two years.
John’s journalism career began in 1955 when he was hired by United Press as a reporter. First assigned to cover New Orleans, he went on to become the Baton Rouge correspondent in 1956. It was during his time in Baton Rouge that John exposed one of the biggest stories of his career and perhaps one story that he was most proud of. Corporon’s expose of voter suppression in upstate Louisiana resulted in federal agents restoring voting rights for black voters in the area.
In 1957 John and Harriett were married and relocated back to New Orleans where John was hired as the Bureau Chief for United Press.
In 1958 John was hired by WDSU, an NBC affiliate, as a reporter. That job brought him to Washington DC where he spent three years as a Washington correspondent. As much as he loved covering politics in the nation’s capital, John decided to return to New Orleans.
Soon after, he was elevated to News Director and served as WDSU’s News Director from 1962- 1967. It was during this period that John produced an interview with a pro-Cuba demonstrator named Lee Harvey Oslwald. Months after the interview, Oswald assassinated President Kennedy and the interview was shown again around the world as this was the only time Oswald was interviewed on camera.
In 1967 John, Harriett, and their two young sons moved to New York where John went to work as the News Director/ Vice President of WNEW, Metromedia television. While at WNEW, John created and launched the 10 O’Clock News, which was the first 10pm newscast in New York City. During his tenure at WNEW, John also supervised news operations of all Metromedia stations across t he country.
In 1970 John returned to Washington, DC as the V.P./General Manager of WTOP, a CBS affiliate. While at WTOP, he helped establish the Newsweek Broadcast Service which served as a template for today’s national newsfeed services.
Two years later in 1972, John returned to New York City where he served as V.P ./News Director at WPIX for twenty four years until his retirement in 1996. John’s tenure at WPIX was filled with many accolades, news gathering innovations and awards, including an RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award for best newscast in the U.S.
During his time at WPIX, John helped establish the first use of satellites for collection and distribution of news and began the Independent Network News (INN), which serviced approximately one hundred independent news stations across the country. While at WPIX, John also produced the Wall Street Journal report and co-produced a Christian Science Monitor program for cable stations.
In addition to the Edward R Murrow Award, John was the recipient of many honors throughout his career. This included a National Emmy Award, which was for a documentary exposing KKK activities in Louisiana. John was also honored with multiple New York Emmy awards and several RTNDA awards for news coverage.
Service to the journalistic community was always a priority for John. He served as President and member of the AP Broadcast Board as well as the President of the Overseas Press Club (OPC) and on state A.P. and U.P.I. boards.
John is survived by his sons, John and David, their wives, Shelagh and Yvette, grandchildren, Claire, Anna, Christiana and Nico and by his great grandson John Bryan.