NPR's Susan Stamberg Remembers Daniel Schorr

When Weekend Edition Sunday first went on the air in 1987, legendary journalist Daniel Schorr was asked to provide commentaries. NPR's Susan Stamberg, the program's first host, recalls first working with Schorr, as well as a brief musical moment the two shared in the halls of NPR several weeks before he died.

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LIANE HANSEN, Host:

Today, we're remembering our colleague Dan Schorr, who died Friday. He was a contributor to WEEKEND EDITION Sunday from its inception. Susan Stamberg was the show's first host, and has this remembrance.

SUSAN STAMBERG: When this program went on the air in 1987, Dan Schorr was asked to provide commentaries. It was my first time to really observe this god of journalism in action. He was already analyzing the news every night on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, as well as on WEEKEND EDITION Saturday. I teased him about joining our Sunday crew. So Dan, now you're on the air seven days of the week - and I know that's only because there aren't eight.

This delighted him. Dan was indefatigable. I traveled with him once to Berlin for a news meeting. On the way home, the rest of us were exhausted - we were sleepy, snoring, waiting at JFK for our flight to Washington. Not Dan. He made a beeline for the newsstand, bought a copy of the New York Times, and read it through before our plane started boarding.

I told him I wanted to be him when I grew up. He was the last sage, the role model for anyone serious about journalism. Dan studied violin as a kid, and he loved most kinds of music.

The last time I saw him here at NPR just a few weeks ago, we stood in the hall, singing together a Kurt Weill tune I had asked him to do once on radio. In the hall, leaning on a walker, Dan sang a bit more softly than he had on the air, but he got through it word- and pitch-perfect.

I didn't record that but will never forget it. Meantime, here's the recorded version from our archives.

DAN SCHORR: You really want to hear it?

STAMBERG: You bet.

SCHORR: (Singing) My ship has sails like they're made of silk. Its stakes are trimmed with gold, and of jam and spice, there's a paradise in the hold. My ship's aglow with a million pearls and rubies fill each bin. The sun sits high in a sapphire sky, when my ship comes in. I do not care if my ship arrives, that day need never be. If the ship I sing doesn't also bring my own true love to me. If the ship I sing doesn't also bring my own true love to me.

STAMBERG: With love and thanks to Dan Schorr and his family, I'm Susan Stamberg, NPR News.

HANSEN: You're listening to NPR News.

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