CNN is in mourning this week after Will King, one of their most beloved journalists, passed away following a battle with cancer. He was 64 years-old.
King retired from CNN in 2014 after 35 years with the network, during which time he was part of the teams who helped launch what became HLN and CNN International networks. As the first bureau chief of CNN’s Frankfurt Bureau, he worked to recruit Ken Jautz, then a young AP reporter.
“He then coached me on how to handle the interview trip to Atlanta — and told me I would have to pay for it myself!” recounted Jautz, who went on to become an executive vice president for CNN and marry a colleague who was also hired by King.
King later moved to Atlanta, where he became senior international editor, managing editor, then vice-president of international newsgathering for CNN. In a 1994 interview, King explained why he loved working for the network so much.
“With three networks — Headline News, CNN, and CNN International — that’s 72 hours worth of programming on a daily basis,” he said. “So, it’s very demanding and challenging, but if you are a journalist, this is the place to be.”
When he left the network in 2014, King wrote a touching note to his colleagues about why he loved working as a behind-the-scenes journalist so much.
“The truth is, few who pursue journalism as a career are seeking fame and fortune.” King wrote. “Most, like me, choose a career in news because they have a passion for capturing moments of history in words and pictures. The job can take you to places you’ve never been and put you in front of extraordinary people while making a good living.
“So you don’t have to be recognized on the street and asked for an autograph to have a rewarding career,” he concluded.
Please keep King’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time!