60 Minutes ‘father’ Gerald Stone passes

Gerald Stone, the instigator of 60 Minutes in Australia, has died aged 87. Stone was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, and started his journalism career as a copy boy at the New York Times in 1957.

In 1962, he and his family moved to Australia where he started a job at the Daily Mirror. In 1967 Stone joined ABC program This Day Tonight which pioneered a new recognition and treatment of public affairs reporting in Australia.

Gerald Stone has passed at age 87.

There he cut his teeth with a bunch of other talented young reporters and presenters about to make famous names for themselves – among them Mike Willesee, Bill Peach and Mike Carlton.

In 1974 he was hired by Sir Frank Packer for a new current affairs program on the Nine Network, Federal File. A year later Stone ascended to the position of news director at Nine.

In 1979 Australia’s 60 Minutes was born. Under Stone’s leadership, 60 Minutes launched scores of now celebrated journalism careers. First amongst them Ray Martin, George Negus and Ian Leslie, quickly followed by, a then largely unknown, Jana Wendt.

Stone was later to serve at the Bulletin as editor, director of current affairs at the Seven Network, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Network and in senior positions as an SBS director and deputy chairman in more recent times.

On top of all of that Stone became a successful author, penning Compulsive Viewing, Who Killed Channel Nine and Say It With Feeling. You can watch an interview with Stone and Mumbrella founder and editor-at-large Tim Burrowes from 2011 here:

A note to Nine staff wrote: “Gerald Stone was deeply respected and much admired by everyone with whom he came into close contact. His raw American accent never left him, nor his warmth, humility and charm. But he was also a feisty character who gave as good as he got, especially in the odd colourful disagreement over programming decisions with Kerry Packer – a feat in itself.”

Gerald is survived by Irene, his children, Klay and Jennifer, and grandchildren Louis and Gina.


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