Just heard today that Knowlton Nash passed away this weekend. It’s one of those moments where you hear of someone you never really knew, and you hadn’t thought about in years, but somehow hearing of their passing kinda hits you more than you might expect. I don’t remember when I started watching the news, but for many years this was the start of the evening ten o’clock hour. The insistent music notes, the date, the stories, and then… “with Knowlton Nash,” the anchor with the perfect name for a show called The National.
Nash formed my vision of what a news anchor ought to be, more than just because he was the first I watched. He made the news personal and human, bringing the sense that it was part of your world, without “story-fying” it. It’s a fine line to walk, and amazing thing to do. No hyperbole, no false drama, no shock, no editorial, and no aggrandizement of himself. Personable, easy tones, yet not detached.
But everything I needed to know about Knowlton I got one Saturday evening, watching the weekend edition of The National. The show was over, he had just signed off with his trademark “goodnight”. The lights turned down in the studio, the camera panned back, the music swelled up, he began arranging his papers… and you could see that he was mouthing along to the music, right there in the studio, a smile on his face. As the final notes came up, he put the cap on his pen, and with a flourish and a triumph, he smacked the cap into place right on the final note.
He loved his job. Delivering the news to the viewers was the most important thing to him and is what brought him vitality. Report on, Mr Nash, into the night.